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Printed by Schulze and Co., 13, Poland Street. 





Arrival of the new bunyo — Remarkable reply — Relaxation of 
a Japanese law — Circulars addressed to the governors of 
harbours — Mr. Moor betrays symptoms of deranj^ement— 
Study of the Russian languajj^e by the Japanese — Golownin 
composes a grammar for their use — Scientific knowledge 
among the Japanese — Notes to Captain Rikord — Climate 
and weather in Japan — Arrival of the * Diana' — Messengers 
sent on board — Letter from Captain Rikord to the bunyo — 
Return of the messengers from the ship — Intelligence of 
the burning of Moscow — Official communication from Yeddo 
relative to the prisoners ..... 



Farewell visits and presents — ^The prisoners leave Matsmai for 
Chakodade— Difficulty of explaining Russian words to the 
Japanese — Rescripts addressed to Laxman and Resanoff— 
Prohibition of Christianity in Japan— The Governor of Ku- 
nashier arrives at Chakodade — Fires— Punishment of 
incendiaries — The * Diana* enters the harbour of Edomo — 
Letters and presents for the bunyo of Matsmai — Curious 
watch— Military tactics of the Japanese — Interview between 




Captain Golow&ia and Captain Rikord — Congratulatory 
addresses and prayers for the safe voyage home— Departure 
— Golownin and his companions embark on board thebunyo's 
barge, and are conveyed to the * Diana' . . .33 


Japanese visitors to the ' Diana' — Their wish to see the signa- 
ture of the Emperor of Russia — Presents — Portrait of 
Kutasoff— Scrupulous honesty observed in restoring the 
property of the prisoners — ^The * Diana' leaves the harbour 
of Chakodade — Probable motives for the liberation of the 
Russian prisoners — Storm off the cast of Matsmai — Arrival 
at Kamtschatka — Moor's despondency —He commits suicide 
— Monument to his memory — Golownin departs from Petro- 
paulowskoi — Arrives in St. Petersburg — Promotions and 
rewards granted to the officers and crew of the ' Diana' 70 




Geographical situation of the Japanese possessions — ^Their 
climate and extent — Origin of the Japanese nation — An- 
cient traditions — Hypothesis respecting the common origin 
of the Japanese and Chinese — Authentic history of Japan — 
Opinion of the Japanese relative to the origin of the human 
race , . , . . . .85 


Discovery of Japan — Catholic missionaries— Their mercenary 
motives— Prohibitory edicts for the extirpation of Chris- 
tianity—Timid character of the Japanese— National charac- 
teristics — Temperance — Dissoluteness — Education and 
knowledge among the people — Japanese notions of history 
— Geography— Civility and poUteness among the people— 
The Japanese language . . .94 




Religion and religious customs — Mythological superstition — 
Brahminical doctrines — Atheisticai ideas— Popular super- 
stition — Forms of worship — Religious mendicants — Punish- 
ment of ecclesiastics— Monks and nuns . . 105 


Government of the empire — Temporal and spiritual emperors 
—The imperial succession — Promulgation of laws — Execu- 
tive government — Public functionaries — Police — Navigation 
— ^Trade— Civil and criminal justice — Military affairs . 116 


Laws and manners — Privileges of nobility — Military regula- 
tions — Social gradations — Middle and lower ranks — Domes- 
tic slavery — Legal instijtutions — Lawsuits — Marriage cere- 
mony — Female constancy in the married state — Restrictive 
policy — Japanese love of gardening — Courtcostume — Female 
attire — Dress of the men — Food— Temperance — Equipages 
— Mode of riding — Music, singing and dancing — ^Theatrical 
representations . . . 



Productions of the country — Agriculture — Manufactures — 
Fisheries— Makinj? of salt — Cotton — Silk — Copper— Iron 
— Timbers—Tea — Tob a cc o — Horses — Cattle — Hemp — Lead 
— Tin— Pentla— Marbles— Fruits, vegetables, &c. — Domes- 
tic anitnals — Poultry— Wild animals — Birds, fish, &c. — 
State of the fine tirts^Foreign trade — Custom-houses — 
SmugKliniT regulatio ris— Coinage — Paper currency — ^Trade 
with the Chinese aotl Dutch . . . .162 




Population and military force — Infanticide — Prevalence of / 

blindness — Extent of the metropolis of Japan — Arms, uni'- i 

form and p^y of the soldiers— Officers, &c. — Imperfect con- 
struction of ships— Skill of Japanese sailors . .184 


Nations paying tribute to the Japan and its colonies— Kurile 
language and origin — Kurile religion — Food and customs — 
Domestic manners . . . . .193 

Account of negotiations with the Japanese . . . 205 





Am?al of the new bunyo — Remarkable reply — Relaxation of a Japanese 
law — Circulars addressed to the governors of harbours — Mr. Moor 

* betrays symptoms of derangement — Study of the Russian language by 
the Japanese — Golownin composes a grammar for their use — Scientific 
knowledge among the Japanese — Notes to Captain Rikord — Climate 
and weather in Japan — Arrival of the * Diana ' — Messengers sent on 
board — Letter from Captain Rikord to the bunyo — Return of the 
meMengers from the ship — Intelligence of the burning of Moscow — 
Ofildal communication from Yeddo relative to the prisoners. 

On the 18th of March the pew bunyo arrived, and 
entered on his office. His suite included our friend 
Teske, a member of the Japanese academy, named Adati- 
Sannay, and an interpreter of the Dutch language, 
named Baba-Sadseeroo. Teske was eager to prove that 
his attachment to us was undiminished. He had no 


•^•"•-•- ••••••••• VlfeRATIVE OP 

sooner landed than he hastened to visit us, even before 
he had seen his father or any of his relations. He 
brought us presents of sweetmeats,* together with the 
consoling information that the new bunyo had been 
directed to correspond with the Russians; and that 
orders were to be immediately transmitted to all forts 
and harbours, to prohibit the firing on the Russian 

Prom the account which Teske gave us, our benefactor 
Arrao-Madsimano-Kami appeared more generous than 
ever. The Japanese Government had determined not to 
listen to any conciliatory proposals on the part of Russia, 
as from all that transpired, and in particular the declara- 
tion of Leonsaimo, they could expect nothing but false- 
hood, fraud, and hostility. 

Arrao-Madsimano-Kami had, however, questioned Leon- 
saimo, in the presence of the new bunyo, convicted hipi of 
prevarication in his answers, and brought him to acknow- 
ledge that all he had asserted respecting the hostile inten- 
tions of Russia towards Japan had been merely uttered at 
random. He represented to the members of the Japanese 
Government that they ought not to judge of the laws and 
customs of other nations by their own, and at length he pre- 
vailed on them to enter into explanations with the nearest.: 
Russian commander. He likewise strongly remonstrated 
against the Japanese Government prohibiting Russian 
ships from entering any other port than that of Nan- 
gasaky ; observing that such a regulation must lead the 
Russians to believe that another trap was prepared for 
them ; for how could they be convinced that the Japanese 

* He never forgot to send us preserves and other dainties along with 
letters from the capital. 


were inclined to act candidly and honourably, when they 
required the Russian vessels to undertake so long a 
voyage to settle an affair which might be decided equally 
;* well, and infinitely more promptly, in any harbour of the 
■ Kurile Islands ? 

The members of the government having, in answer to 

■ . his representations, urged that they could not, without 

.^ fiolating their laws, permit Russian vessels to enter any 

/♦ oAer port than Nangasaky, he made the following re- 

■..* markable reply : " Since the sun, the moon, and the 

. «tars, which are the creation of the Almighty, are variable 

i'i" fc their course, why should the Japanese laws, the work- 

"jj tt weak mortals, be eternal and unchangeable?^^* By 

J Aese and other arguments he prevailed on the govem- 

.^; ment to order the bunyo of Matsmai to correspond 

\ irith our ships, without requiring them to sail to Nan- 

^ gasaky. 

.j Though Arrao-Madsimano-Kami was no longer one 
^ of the bunyos of Matsmai, he had obtained a more 
'.f important post, though the emoluments attached to his 
w present office were somewhat less considerable, because 
^ everything was much dearer in Matsmai' than in the 
ipital, where he was in future to reside. He was now 
•pointed governor of all the imperial palaces in the 

of Japan. 
A day or two after the arrival of the new bunyo. 

* Teske assured us, that no other individual in Japan would have 
Itted to give such an answer to the government. But Arrao-Madsimano- 
Ktmi, who, on account of his superior understanding and virtuous 
fdnciples, was universally known and beloved by the people, feared not 
to speak the truth. He was brother-in-law to the governor-general of 
fbt capital, an office which is filled only by individuals near the imperial 

B 2 



Kumaddschero informed us that the chief officer, the \ 
giumiyaku sampey, wished us to teach the academician 
and the Dutch interpreter, who had arrived from the 
capital, the Russian language; and to give them, «8 
far as we were able, any other instruction they might 
desire. I expressed my surprise, that before the new 
bunyo had given us an audience, or communicated the 
decision of the Japanese Government, we should be 
required to instruct persons who had been sent from the 

I asked Mr. Moor, through the partition which sepa- 
rated our apartments, what he thought of this proposal ; 
and he made the following reply: ^^ Until the bunyo 
makes us acquainted with the decision on our case, 
nothing shall induce me to comply with his request; 
but whenever he shall make that communication, I am 
ready to work, day and night, in giving the Japanese 
instructions.^* I proposed that we should devote an 
hour or two every day to instructing these men, until 
the Russian ships arrived : we should then perceive what 
were the real views of the Japanese Government respect- 
ing us, and be able to adopt measures accordingly. But 
Mr. Moor would listen to nothing of the kind. I was 
unable to guess the cause of this obstinacy ; but supposed 
thai he wished, by his present zeal, to make his former* 
conduct be forgotten. But the mystery was soon un- 
ravelled in a different way. 

Kumaddschero went awjiy without having received any 
decisive answer to his message. A few days afterwards, 
Mr. Moor and I were conducted to the castle, where 
the two principal officers, in the presence of several 
others, informed us that they had been directed to write 
to the Russians, who would probably soon approach the 


coasts of Japan with their ships, and to request an 
explanation of Chwostoff's conduct from the commander 
(rf the nearest Russian government or district. They 
accordingly intended to send off letters to this effect 
to the different harbours of the northern Japanese pos- 
sessions — Kunashier, Eetooroop, Sagaleen, Atkis, and 
Chakodade. The translations, they observed, must be 
executed by Teske, Kumaddschero, and ourselves. The 
interpreter then explained the contents of the Japanese 
letter, that we might be able to state our opinion respect- 
ing the proposition it contained. 

I expressed myself gratified to learn that such measures 
had been adopted as would probably spare much useless 
bloodshed, both to Russia and Japan; and I stated my 
conviction that our government would not fail to return 
a satisfactory answer. I was then informed, that in case 
our ships entered the ports of Matsmai or Chakodade, 
it was proposed to send the letter on board by one or two 
of our sailors. I expressed my approval of this plan, 
as our countrymen would thereby be convinced that 
we were still in existence. I, at the same time, begged 
to be peimitted to write a few small notes, which might 
be sent along with the copies of the letter to the other 
i. fortified harbours, to intimate to our friends that we 
^-"Wre all well in health. This was assented to, with 
dbe intimation that the notes must be as brief as possible ; 
a&d as it would be necessary to send them to Yeddo, 
to receive the sanction of the government, they advised us 
to write them speedily. This advice I followed without 
delay. On my return. to the place of our confinement, 
I immediately set about the translation of the Japanese 
letter, in which Mr. Moor and Alexei assisted. 
About this time, two learned Japanese, viz. the acade- 



mician and the interpreter of the Dutch language, paid 
us their first visit. We merely exchanged compliments, 
and they made no allusion to the object of their journey. 
They brought us some sweetmeats, and requested that we 
would give them a French dictionary, and one or two 
other French books. 

Soon after, Mr. Moor addressed me in the following 
remarkable way : " You, who are the cause of our mis- 
fortune,'^ said he, ^^ should not be the first to go on 
board our ship. Audrey Ilyitsch," (meaning Mr. Chleb- 
nikoff,) ^^ is almost at the point of death ; and therefore 
it would be best to send me on board the ship, accom- 
panied by Alexei, who has been three years in imprison- 
ment, whilst our sailors have lived only two years in 
Japan. But I cannot be the individual to make this 
request ; you must therefore do so, and your fate depends 
upon it. If you neglect to act on this suggestion, you 
are lost." '* How so ?" I inquired. " For reasons which 
are well known to me,*' replied Mr. Moor, in an emphatic 
tone. I observed that the Japanese Government must be 
consulted before any new arrangement could be deter- 
mined on ; and as this would necessarily occasion loss of 
time, I could not think of making the application he 
wished for. " Then,'' said he, " you will repent of your 
error when too late." 

I was at a loss to divine the meaning of these threats. 
On the following day, Mr. Moor again addressed me 
through the partition. One of the soldiers, he said, had 
informed him, that the Japanese intended to entrap the 
commander of a Russian ship, and a party of officers 
and sailors, equal in number to ourselves, and then to let 
us free, as it were, in exchange for them. This circum- 
stance, he observed, might occasion bloodshed ; he there- 


fore advised me to reflect, and to permit him to go on 
board first, as he could render the matter more intelligible 
than the sailors. He would induce Captain Rikord to 
take care that we should all be safely given up to him. 
This story was too absurd to impose on any one. What 
soldier would have obtained knowledge of so important a 
secret ? I coolly replied, that no credit could be given to 
the stajbement. But Moor would not suffer the affair to 
rest here. He shortly afterwards told me, that the 
Jt^a^ese intended to capture our ships, together with the 
whole of their crews, and then to send an embassy to 
Okotzk, on board of a Japanese vessel. He said he had 
received this intelligence from one of our attendants (the 
old men), and likewise from a yoimg soldier, and insisted 
on being sent to Captain Bikord instead of the sailors. 
The falsehood of this story was palpable. I merely 
replied , ^' Heaven's will be done V and said no more on 
the subject. 

We had now finished translating the letter which 
was to be sent on board our ships. It was addressed 
' thus : " From the Giumiyaks, the two chief commanders 
next to the Bunyo of Matsmai, to the commander of the 
Russian ships.'' 
i The contents were briefly as follow : " The Japanese, 
:y In as far as was consistent with their laws, had maintained 
Ilteii90urse with the Ambassador Resanoff, in Nangasaky ; 
\ji9St, tlH)ugh they offered him not the least provocation, 
tnssifai ships had, without the slightest reason, com- 
menced hostilities on the coasts of Japan. Accordingly, 
wh«tt the ^Diana^ appeared, the Commander of Kunashier, 
who, of course, regarded the Russians as the enemies of 
his country, took seven of the crew prisoners. These 
men have indeed declared, that the conduct of the com- 


mander of the aggressive Russian ships^ was unauthorized 
by the government, but as prisoners, the Japanese cannot 
give credit to what they say; they, therefore, wish to 
have their account confirmed by higher authority, and 
this confirmation must be sent to Chakodade/^ 

It was wished that we should translate this document 
with the utmost precision, and adhere as closely as 
possible to the literal meaning. We were required to 
make the words in the translation follow each other 
in the same order as in the original, wherever the idiom 
of both languages would permit of their doing so, and we 
were requested to pay no regard to elegance of style. 
This translation accordingly occupied us for the space of 
several days : even when we had finished it, the bunyo 
sent it back several times, requesting us to make 
corrections, which he pointed out. At length, the task 
being completed, we made several copies of the letter, 
which we put up under covers, in the European style, 
with Russian superscriptions. They were then sent off to 
the different harbours. 

On the 27th of March, we were introduced to the 
new bunyo. He was a young man, about thirty-five 
years of age, handsome, and had a very pleasing ex- 
pression of countenance. His suite consisted of eight 
individuals, as he was superior in rank to the two former ' 
bunyos. After inquiring oar names and ranks, he 
addressed us as the other governors had formerly done, 
and gave us reason to hope that the business between 
the Japanese Government and ourselves would terminate 
in the way we wished. He questioned us respecting our 
health, and whether we were satisfied with the food with 
which we were supplied, and then dismissed us. 

We this day overheard a conversation between Mr. 


^ Moor and the interpreters, which caused us great un- 
easiness. He asked Teske to obtain for him a private 
interview with the bunyo, as he had something of great 
importance to communiqate to him. Teske replied, that 
the bunyo would not grant an interview, unless he were 
first informed, through the interpreters, of the nature 
of the business which rendered a private conference 
necessary. Mr. Moor then declared, that the object of 
onr voyage had been to make observations on the 
southern Kurile Islands, which are under the dominion 
of the Japanese ; but for what reason the Russian 
Government had ordered me to make these observations 
I alone could inform them, as I never communicated 
my instructions to the officers. He further stated, 
that we had concealed various circumstances from the 
Japanese, and in our translations had construed many 
points in a way diflferent from their real meaning, &c. 
, On hearing this, Teske asked him whether he had lost 
his senses, as such declarations would, of course, prove 
as injurious to himself as to us. Moor replied, that he 
was perfectly aware of what he was doing, and that he 
was resolved to confess the truth. Teske observed that, 
even allowing he did speak truth, it was now too late, 
rm a decision had taken place, and if satisfactory ex- 
^ittiations were received from Russia, we should be 
%iBMidktely set at liberty. Mr. Moor, however, insisted 
Ifli hmxg taken before the bunyo, upon which Teske left 
Ilia; altering our apartment, he told us that if Mr. Moor 
wefe not mad, he must have a very black heart. On 
ibe following day, Mr. Moor discoursed like one who 
was bereft of reason; but whether his derangement 
was real or feigned, Heaven only knows. 
- Two days afterwards, Mr. Moor having expressed a 


wish to be again confined along with us, the Japanese 
conducted him and Alexei to our apartment. 

We were now daily visited by the Dutch interprets 
and the learned man, whom we have styled the acade- 
mician, because he was a member of a learned society, 
somewhat resembling our European academies. The 
interpreter began to fill up and improve the Russian 
vocabularies : he used to refer to a French and Dutch 
Lexicon, for the purpose of acquiring through the French 
such Russian words as he did not know ; he then 
searched for these words in a Russian Lexicon, which he 
had in his possession. He was about twenty-seven 
years of age ; and as he possessed an excellent memory, 
and considerable knowledge of grammar, he made rapid 
progress in the Russian language. This induced me to 
attempt to compile a Russian grammar for him, as well 
as I could from mere recollection. 

Having no books, by the help of which I could com-» 
pose a complete grammar, I was forced to content 
myself with what I could put together from memory. I 
devoted more than four months to the completion of this 
task. In the preface I stated, that should it ever chance 
to fall into the hands of a Russian, or any individual who 
understood our language, the circumstances under which 
it was written must be taken into account. All tlM^ 
examples which I introduced bore reference to the relatiom 
between Russia and Japan, and were so contrived as to 
recommend the approximation and friendship of both 
nations. With this the Japanese were highly pleased. 
They eagerly set about translating my manuscript, and, 
though it formed a tolerably large volume, they soon 
accomplished the task. Teske and Baba-Sadseeroo, 
particularly the latter, were extremely quick in com- 


]»efaeDding the rules of grammar. I besides translated 
into Russian some French and Dutch dialogues, which 
were in a French grammar, and they proved very useful 
to the Dutch interpreter in learning our language. 

The academician employed himself in translating from 
the Russian a work on arithmetic, published at Peters- 
hmgh for the use of public schools. It had been brought 
to Japan by Kodia, a Japanese whom Laxman conveyed 
hick to his native country in 179;^. In explaining the 
adthmetical rules, we soon observed that the academician 
possessed considerable knowledge of the subject, and 
Att he only wished to be made acquainted with the 
ftoasian demonstrations. I was curious to know how far 
Ms knowledge of mathematics extended, and frequently 
OMiversed with him on matters connected with that 
•ci^ee. But as our interpreters entertained not the 
lightest notion of the subject, I found it impossible to 
make all the inquiries I wished. I will, however, state 
• few circumstances, which may enable the reader to form 
Sdme idea of the state of mathematical knowledge among 
4tt Japanese. The academician once asked me, whether 
tie Russians, like the Dutch, reckoned time according to 
fte new style. When I replied that the Russians 
iH^oned by the old style, he requested me to explain 
m-Um the distinction between the old and new styles, 
pIlAat occasioned the difference between them, which 
tWc^rdingly did. He then observed, that the new 
W»it of reckoning was by no means exact, because, 
A&t a certain number of centuries, a difference of 
tlPenty-four hours would again arise. I readily perceived 
flat he questioned me merely to discover how far I 
W» informed on a subject with which he was perfectly 
^miliar. The Japanese consider the Copernican the 


true system of the universe. The orbit and satellites 
of Uranus are known to them, but they know nothing 
of the planets more recently discovered. 

Mr. ChlebnikoflF employed himself in the calculation of 
logarithms, of natural sines and tangents, and other tables 
connected with navigation, which he completed, after in- 
credible labour and application. When the academician 
was shown these tables, he immediately recognised the 
logarithms, and drew a figure to convince us that he was 
also acquainted with the nature of the sines and tangents. 
In order to ascertain whether the Japanese knew how to 
demonstrate geometrical truths, I asked whether they 
were perfectly convinced that in a right-angled triangle 
the square of the hypothenuse is equal to the squares of 
the other two sides ? He answered in4;he affirmative. I 
then asked how they were certain of this fact, and in 
reply he demonstrated it very clearly. Having drawn a 
figure with a pair of compasses on paper, he cut out the 
three squares, folded the squares of the two short sides 
into a number of triangles, and also cut out these 
triangles; then laying the several triangles on the 
surface of the large square, he made them exactly cover 
and fit it. 

The academician assured us that the Japanese calculate 
with great precision the eclipses of the sun and moon.* 

* In August, 1812, an eclipse of the moon was visible in this quarter 
of the world. The Japanese, in their calendar, foretold the period when 
the eclipse would take place, and we determined to observe whether they 
were correct in their reckoning. At that time we were unacquainted with 
the degree of knowledge they possessed, and suspected that the Japanese 
calculations would resemble those of the Dutch astronomer, who pub- 
lished in the Almanac of the Cape of Good Hope that an eclipse would 
take place on the first night of a new moon. The poor Dutchmen gaped 
and stared the whole night at the sky, but saw neither the moon nor the 



is not improbable, for they have a translation of 
landers Astronomy/' and, as I have already observed, 
||ropean astronomer resides in their capital, 
fike and Kumaddschero generally came to visit us 
with the academician and the Dutch interpreter, 
usually staid with us the whole forenoon, and some- 
all day. This time was not wholly devoted to 
tific investigations; our visitors frequently enter- 
us by relating singular occurrences and interesting 
Botes. Among other things, Teske gave us an 
at of the examination of Leonsaimo or Gorodsee, the 
aese who had returned from Russia. This man was 
kined in the presence of the new bunyo and Arrao- 
aano-Kami. On being asked how he had been 
by the Russians, he spoke with the highest praise 
atitude of the Governor of Irkutzk, the Commandant 
^utzk, the Commandant of Okotzk harbour, of Mr. 
rd, together with all the officers of the ^ Diana/ and 
kus other individuals with whom we were acquainted ; 
lie rest of the Russians he described as being a very 
iiless set. 

characterized the Russian nation as being warlike 

[rapacious. His countrymen in Irkutzk had shown 

on the map, the boundaries of Russia in former 

. and assured him that the government had not pur- 

i a foot of ground, but had acquired their present 

; of territory by conquest. He had himself made 

bUowing observations : In Russia, should a boy find 

in the streets, he immediately takes it up and goes 

which they expected. A very different cause prevented our 
; the eclipse at Japan. The heavens were completely ohscured 


through the military exercise. He had, besides, fre- 
quently seen numbers of boys assemble together for the 
purpose of practising military exercises ; and the soldiers, 
wherever he saw them, were constantly under arms. 
From all the circumstances, he concluded that Russia 
was meditating a war with the Japanese, for she had no 
neighbours in that quarter of the world, except China and 
Japan. With China she maintained commercial relations, 
consequently all her preparations must be directed against 
Japan. At this latter observation both the bunyos 
laughed, and called him a blockhead, adding, that in 
Japan it was customary for boys to fence with swords, 
and soldiers to go through their exercise, though no war 
was in contemplation. 

We learned from Teske, that the Japanese who was 
sent ashore with the letters from Captain Rikord, actually 
received orders from the Governor of Kunashier to carry 
back information that we were dead. The motive for 
this falsehood was as follows : the Japanese assured his 
countrymen that Russia would no doubt declare war 
against Japan, and that all her friendly representations 
were mere artifice. Captain Rikord had, however, stated 
in his letter, that he would not quit the harbour until he 
received a satisfactory answer; and at the approach of 
our ships, all the fishermen and labouring people on tlie 
southern coast of Kunashier had fled into the garrison, ffo 
that all business was suspended. It was, therefore, wiA 
a view to put an end to this state of things, and to provoke 
the Russians to land for the purpose of attempting to 
storm the garrison, that the story of our death was fabri- 
cated. Otachi-Koeki, at that time Governor of Kunashier, 
was the same officer who had so frequently treated us with 
so much derision at Chakodade, and his personal hatred 


of the Russians had probably dictated the answer sent to 
Captain Rikord. This answer, Teske told us, excited no 
displeasure on the part of the government ; on the con- 
trary, several of the ministers expressed their approbation 
of the conduct of Otachi-Koeki. 

Teske also informed us, that his correspondence with 
iw had involved him in considerable difficulty during his 
stay ill the capital. The letters which were taken from 
Mr. Moor had been sent to Yeddo. The government 
lequired Teske to translate all the letters he had received 
from us. and those which he had written to us ; but he 
was prudent enough to give a diflferent interpretation to 
certain passages in which he spoke disapprovingly of his 
own countrymen. The officers of the government, to 
whose perusal these translations were submitted, asked 
ten how he dared to correspond with foreigners, when he 
knew that a law existed by which that kind of intercourse 
was prohibited. Teske excused himself by saying, that 
ke was not aware that such foreigners as had been made 
fffisoners by the Japanese were included in this law; 
adding^ that he had not corresponded with us for any 
improper purpose, but merely from motives of compassion. 
He was merely reprimanded, and admonished to be more 

rtent in future. The letters remained in the hands of 
government, and the aflfair had luckily no injurious 
^'l|pM^ for Teske. Both he and Kumaddschero were after- 
'mtdi ]Nromoted for their labours in translating, and 
aftpriring the Russian language. Teske was appointed to 
fil the office of Shtoyagu; and Kumaddschero that of 
Sajcbhu, or secretary. 

With pain I again call attention to a circumstance, 
which, in the midst of our sufferings, harassed my feel- 
ings,' and the recollection of which is, even now, deeply 


distressing. I allude to the conduct of Mr. Moor. If I 
unfold his errors, it is not that I wish to dwell on the 
description of the agony into which he plunged me and 
my unfortunate companions. 

After Mr. Moor was quartered along with us, he often 
discoursed with the guards like a person in an unsound state 
of mind. For instance, he assured them that he heard the 
officers of their government calling to him from the roof 
of the house, and reproaching him with having drunk the 
blood of the Japanese and ate their rice ; that the inter- 
preters, moreover, called to him from the streets, and 
came during the night secretly to consult with me and 
Mr. ChlebnikoflF on the best means of getting rid of him. 

He was, however, at certain intervals, perfectly col- 
lected, and then what he said always indicated that he had 
a particular object in view. On one occasion, he told 
Teske that he had many fine books, charts, pictures, and 
other objects of curiosity on board the ^ Diana,^ and that 
if the Japanese would grant him permission to go first on 
board, he would send valuable presents to the officers and 
interpreters. Teske replied, that the Japanese were not 
desirous of receiving presents, as in fact they stood in 
need of none ; and that all they wanted was, that our 
government should send them a satisfactory explanation 
respecting the proceedings of the Corapany^s ships. 

Another time Mr. Moor, in the presence of the inter-, 
preters and the academician, said, that his devotion to the 
Japanese would ruin him, since they had refused to take: 
him into their service, and he dared not return to Russia. 
" How so V inquired the interpreters. ^' Because," 
replied he, '^ I have ofi*ered to enter the Japanese service ; 
nay, even to become a servant of the governor;* this is 
* This circumstance was not known to us before. 



bwn to my companions, and must, of course, become 

|jwn to the Russian Government ; therefore, were I to 

home, I should be condemned to the galleys/^ The 

ferpreters, and Teske in particular, endeavoured to set 

I mind at ease. They told him, that his wish to enter 

Japanese service was sufficiently excused by his 

ation. Teske added, that he had never mentioned to 

rMr. Moor^s proposal of entering the service of the 

emor, which he had now himself disclosed. 

Fe, on our part, assured him that he had no reason to 

returping to Russia: our government would not 

of his oflFence, if even it should become known, with 

severity he anticipated. But Moor was far from 

Ig satisfied. Some secrets, of which he had made a 

Iten disclosure to the Japanese, weighed upon his 

W. This was what he alluded to when he spoke of his 

Dtion to the Japanese. He endeavoured, by various 

as, to prove his attachment to Japan, and said that if 

i Japanese could see what was passing within his heart, 

• would place greater confidence in him. 

It length the interpreters informed him, that even 

apanese, who should live for any length of time in 

breign country, would forfeit the confidence of his 

tttrymen ; *' How then,^^ said they, *^ can we venture 

te a foreigner into our service, whatever degree of 

aent he may profess towards our nation ?" They 

|htr observed, that if our declarations were confirmed 

(the Russian Government, we should all be liberated; 

I if any among us might be unwilling to return, they 

be forcibly carried on •board our ships : but in 

\ the expected confirmation should not be received, we 

remain in confinement without being permitted 

[enter into the Japanese service, or even to follow 

roL, II. c 


any kind of employment. The interpreters added, that 
if Mr. Moor had reason to dread the consequences of 
returning to Russia, the Japanese might sympathise in 
his fate, but that their laws could not be violated in his 

On our informing the interpreters that the apprehen- 
sions expressed by Mr. Moor were totally unfounded, 
they represented to him that his fears arose merely out 
of the disordered state of his mind ; but he declared him- 
self to be perfectly collected, and observed that the laws 
of Japan were severe and barbarous. 

On this occasion, they explained to us the grounds qb 
which their laws prohibit them from placing any trust in 
Japanese subjects who have lived in foreign countries. - 
The great mass of mankind, said they, resemble children ; 
they soon become weary of what they possess, and wil- 
lingly give up everything for the sake of novelty. When 
they hear of certain things being better in foreign coun- 
tries than in their own, they immediately wish to possess 
them, without reflecting that they might, perhaps, prove 
useless, or even injurious to them* 

With regard to Mr. Moor^s conduct, he still continued 
either to discourse like a madman, or to remain totally 
silent. He once told me, in a determined tone, that 
he saw only two courses which he could take : we muife 
either request that he and Alexei might first be permittfiA 
to go on board the Russian vessels, when he would take 
measures to ensure our safety ; if not, our refusal wouhl 
compel him to adopt the only remaining alternative^ 
which might, perhaps, prove fatal to us all — it was to 
inform the Japanese that the object of our voyage was 
to inspect their coasts, and that there was even a proba- 
bility of the Russians declaring war against them. 1 


replied, that we were not be intimidated by threats of this 
kind. We knew, from experience, the disposition of the 
Japanese; they would, of course, come to no speedy 
decision on his representation; and that, in the mean- 
while, communications might take place, and all would 
{tfobably terminate favourably to us. Our poor sailors 
entreated that he would not act so dishonourably, assur- 
fflg him, that on their return to Russia, they would 
never divulge a syllable which might operate to his dis- 
advantage. "I know welV^ replied he, "what I have 
to expect. I recollect that when we were in the presence 
rf the bunyo, Schkajeff, in a threatening tone, inquired 
whether I entertained thoughts of returning to Russia V 
The words which Schkajeflf uttered on that occasion had 
apparently made a deep impression on his mind : he 
frequently alluded to them. 

On my asking him what would be his feelings, were he 
to succeed in convincing the Japanese of the truth of his 
assertions, and should thereby induce them to entrap our 
countrymen, he made me various incoherent answers. 
" Even allowing,^' continued I, " that the Japanese should 
oipture our vessels, the truth may sooner or later come to 
%ht, and we be sent back to Russia, what then would 
.'|eeome of you?^* "I should then only undergo the 
%iQO punishment as I must be subjected to, were I to 
Mm how,^^ replied he. I endeavoured to console him, 
UmI observed that he was not in a suflSciently collected 
itele of mind to be responsible for his conduct. 

When I asked him what rendered him so impatient 
to go first on board the Russian vessels, he constantly 
twied in his answers. Sometimes, he said, he wished to 
be the instrument of reconciliation between two nations, 
wd thus to expiate his faults ; then he expressed a wish 

' c 2 


to warn our countrymen of the snares which the Japanese 
had laid for them, or to persuade them to send from the 
ships some cannon and other things as pledges for the 
restoration of the articles of which ChwostoflF had robbed 
the Japanese. These singular answers sufficiently proved 
that he was occasionally under the influence of derange- 

Though Mr. Moor found that his menaces made no 
impression on us, he did not, on that account, cease 
to harass us. He sometimes told the interpreters what 
threats he had held out to us : they, however, paid no 
regard to this discourse, which was directly aimed at our 
ruin. They called him a madman; and instead of making 
replies consistent with his applications, referred to a 
physician. After some time, it was indeed found 
necessary to place him under the care of a physi- 
cian ; but no investigation was ever instituted, in order 
to ascertain whether he had been in his right senses 
at the time he uttered these expressions. This circum- 
stance led Mr. Chlebnikoff to believe that the Japanese 
were practising some artifice; that they pretended to 
believe Mr. Moor insane, in order to throw us off our 
guard, and to deceive the sailors who were to be sent 
as messengers to our countrymen; but that their real 
design w:as to capture the Russian ships by some stra- 
tagem, after which they would probably inquire whether 
or not Mr. Moor had spoken truth. This suspicion; 
groundless as it appeared, induced me to write five notes, 
addressed to Captain Rikord, which the sailors and Alexei 
stitched within the lining of their jackets; for, as it was 
not known which might be sent off, it was necessary that 
each should have one in his possession. These notes 
I directed to be delivered to the commander, whoever 


he might be, of the Russian ships, dn' board of which 
any of our sailors might be put by the Japanese. The 
distrust which Mr. Chlebnikoff entertained of the sin- 
eerity of the Japanese was certainly pushed to the extreme 
of improbability ; still, however, it was proper to warn 
our countrymen, lest, by any imprudent confidence, they 
might be entrapped into a state of wretchedness similar 
to our own. 

The five notes I wrote were all to the same purport, 
exhorting Captain Rikord, or the Russian commanding 
officer, to observe the utmost caution in his communica- 
tions with the Japanese, and not to sufier his boats to 
approach within gun-shot of the garrison. I requested 
him not to take offence at the tardy proceedings of these 
people, as their laws prohibited them from doing any- 
thing with precipitancy, and obliged them to submit every 
affair of importance to the consideration of their govern- 
ment. I, moreover, stated all that Mr. Moor had dis- 
closed to the Japanese, in order that he might be 
prepared to answer all the questions that would pro- 
hably be put to him in the course of his examination. 
In conclusion, I observed that there was every reason 
to hope for reconciliation with the Japanese ; and that, 
in course of time, commercial relations might probably 
^ ^tablished between them and Russia. 
. JIfkiding that all his plans proved unsuccessful, Mr. 
Itoor seemed plunged in despair. On two or three 
oecasions he attempted to put a period to his existence, 
but his designs were discovered by the guards in time 
to prevent their execution. It sometimes struck me that 
these attempts were mere artifice; for had he really 
intended to commit suicide, he might easily have found 
9XL opportunity to carry the dreadful design into execution 


without being observed : but whatever might be the fact, 
the attendants began to watch him strictly ; pwen whikt 
be was asleep one always sat near him^ to listen whether 
he continued to breathe ; and if for a moment his res- 
piration became inaudible, the sentinel would strip down 
the quilt of his bed to ascertain that he was still living. 
/They likewise watched me with much attention. This 
caution may be easily accounted for. Had any of ottr 
party committed suicide, not merely the guards who were 
near us, but likewise our surviving companions, and the 
soldiers stationed on the outside of the house, who had 
no communicaticm with us, would have been answerable 
for it. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Moor made every possible endeavour 
to prevent negociations between the Russians and the 
Japanese. He advised the latter to demand, on the 
arrival of our ships, that their guns, and arms of every 
kind, should be sent ashore as pledges, to remain in the 
hands of the Japanese until the property which ChwostofiF 
had robbed them of should be restored. They replied, 
however, that if the Emperor of Japan should be con* 
vinced that the Russian Government had no connection 
with the proceedings of the Company^s ships, he would 
regard the robbery as an act of private aggression ; and 
moreover, that the Emperor had long since compensated 
the individuals, whose property was carried off by Chwo- 
stoflf, for the loss they sustained. 

Mr. Moor now appeared to be driven to the last 
extremity. He frequently refused to taste food for 
several days together, and all our endeavours to en- 
courage and console him proved unavailing. For my 
own part, I now augured no good from all that was 
passing. The indiflFerence with which the interpreters 


listened to the declarations of Mr. Moor was to me 
unaccountable. It in no way corresponded with the 
curiosity natural to the Japanese^ who were accustomed 
to make the most minute and circumstantial inquiries 
respecting the merest trifles. I considered the matter 
in every point of view, without being able to come to 
any fixed opinion on the subject. Did the Japanese 
regard Mr. Moor as a madman, on whose declarations 
no rehance could be placed ? Did the interpreters, after 
the inquiry into our case should be brought to an end, 
»id after they should be rewarded for their conduct, 
apprehend disagreeable • consequences to themselves, if 
difficulties should be created by the disclosure of new 
and important circumstances ? Or were Mr. Moor's 
words only apparently disregarded, that others of our 
coimtrymen might be inveigled into a snare? 

Though we could not believe Teske capable of so 
treacherously deceiving us, yet we recollected that he 
might, perhaps, be only doing what he considered his 
duty, in fulfilling the orders of his government, which, 
aoocHrding to the representations of the Japanese them- 
ehres, was capable of almost any atrocity. In this state 
of doubt and perplexity we were doomed to await the 
mravelling of the mystery. 

. jfti the 10th of May, the note which we had requested 
fOn^Bion to dispatch to the different fortified harbours, 
to infcurm our friends that we were living and well, was 
MBmed from the capital. The government had approved 
rf its contents, and consequently not a single letter could 
^ altered. Having made five copies, and affixed our 
statures to each, they were dispatched on the same day 
to their several destinations. This note was to the follow- 
ing effect : 


" We are all, both officers and seamen, and the Kurile 
Alexei, alive, and in Matsmai. 

"Wassily Golownin. 
"Feodor Moor/' 
" May 10, 1813." 

Mr. Chlebnikoff was unable to sign the notes on account 
of severe illness. 

The season had now returned when we daily expected 
to hear of the arrival of the Russian vessels. Frona 
Captain Rikord's letter, I concluded that he would saU 
straight to Matsmai. Every violent gale of wind made 
me tremble for the safety of our ships, on account of the 
fogs, which, in this quarter of the world, constantly 
accompany the east wind. Violent storms, with fog and 
rain, frequently arise in these ports during the months of 
May, June, and July, which are precisely the periods 
when the weather is fair and the wind moderate in the 
northern hemisphere. Even when at sea, I never watched 
the state of the weather with more exactness than I did at 
this time. I marked iovm. every variation, however 
slight. The following memoranda may aflFord some 
notion of a Japanese summer : 

During the whole of the 30th and 31st of May, and 
1st of June, a violent east wind blew without intermission,- 
accompanied by fogs and rain. 

On the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th of June, the same 
kind of weather prevailed, and for several succeeding days 
it likewise continued exceedingly stormy, the wind in- 
variably blowing from the east. 

In the expectation that we should be sent on board 
the Russian ships, we were supplied with materials for 
new suits of clothes, that we might make a decent ap- 


pearance in the presence of our countrymen. Mr. Moor, 
Mr. Chlebnikoff and I, were provided with fine silken 
stuflFs for our clothes; the sailors had the cotton cloth 
called momba, sent to them. Alexei had a dress made 
after the Japanese fashion. 

At length, on the 19th of June, we were informed that 
a Japanese vessel, lying at anchor oflF a promontory in the 
Island of Kunashier, had observed a Russian three- 
masted ship sail round the Cape, and enter Kunashier 
harbour. The Japanese vessel immediately weighed anchor, 
and brought information of this event to Chakodade. 
On the 20th of June the arrival of the ' Diana^ in Kuna- 
shier was officially confirmed, but nothing more was said 
on the subject. 

On the following day the interpreters received orders 
to ask me which of the sailors I wished to send on 
board. To avoid showing any preference to one more 
than another, I determined that chance should decide the 
matter, and the lot happened to fall to SimanoflF. I re- 
quested that the governor would permit Alexei to accom- 
pany him. To this he consented, and they received 
orders to prepare for their departure. On the same day 
Mr. Moor and I were conducted to the castle, where the 
two giumiyagus, in the presence of other officers, formally 
■ ip^oired whether we were perfectly satisfied that Alexei 
ted' Simanoff should be sent on board the ^ Diana.^ I 
Hep&ed in the affirmative; but Mr. Moor remained silent. 
Simpey then informed us, that he himself intended to 
depart for Kunashier, for the purpose of treating with 
Captain Rikord ; he at the same time promised to bring 
file affair to a conclusion, and assured us that Alexei and 
Simanoff should experience every accommodation during 
their voyage. We were then dismissed. 


Mr. Moor and I were again conducted to the castle on 
the 22nd of June, when the papers which had been sent 
on shore by Captain Rikord were presented to us. They 
consisted of two letters, the one addressed to the Com- 
mander of Kunashier, and the other to me. In the 
former Rikord acquainted the Japanese of his arrival and 
friendly intentions, together with the return of their 
countryman, Tachaty-Kachi, and two sailors whom he had 
carried oflF in the preceding year. Two Japanese and a 
Kurile had died in Kamtschatka, though every endeavour 
had been made to save their lives.* He, besides, de- 
scribed Tachaty-Kachi as an intelligent and good-princi- 
pled man, who would, of course, convince the Japanese of 
the amicable disposition of Russia, and would prevail on 
them to liberate us ; at the same time intimating, that if 
they did not set us at liberty they might apprehend seriouia 
consequences. He concluded by saying that he trusted 
to the pacific character and generosity of the Japanese, and 
awaited an answer to his letter. 

* A few months previous to the arrival of Captain Rikord, the relations 
of Tachatj-Kachi, who were much concerned for his fate, inquired of a 
priest in Chakodade whether Kachi would ever return to his native 
country. This priest pretended to possess the gift of foretelling future 
events. He accordingly pronounced the following prophecy : ** Kachi 
will return in the ensuing summer, with two of his companions, the 
remaining two have perished in a foreign land." We were informed of 
this prediction, but we laughed at it, and observed, that in Europe sodh 
a prophet would be punished as an impostor. The Japanese, however, 
thought otherwise, and assured us that many of the former prophecies of 
this priest had been fulfilled. Captain Rikord's subsequent arrival of 
course inspired them with fresh confidence in the prophetic powers of 
their priest, and they triumphantly inquured whether we were not con- 
vinced that he possessed the gift of penetrating into futurity. They 
expressed no little astonishment when we declared our belief that the 
prophet's successful predictions were the effect of mere chance. 


In his letter to me, Captain Rikord requested that I 
would return an answer, acquainting him with the state 
€f our health, and also what was our situation in other 
respects. It was, therefore, evident that Mr. Rikord had 
written the letter before he received the papers which had 
been dispatched to him. This circumstance surprised us 
Bot a little, for the Japanese had informed us that the 
orders issued by the government required that these 
papers should be conveyed by Kuriles on board the first 
Russian ship which might appear on the coast. We were 
directed to take copies of both letters in presence of the 
officers, and in the evening we made translations of them. 
On the following day the originals, together with the 
tnmslations, were sent off to the capital. 

On the 24?th of June, Sampey, Kumaddschero, Simanoff 
and Alexei, sailed for Kunashier. I took every opportunity 
of instructing Simanoff what to communicate to the officers 
of the * Diana^ respecting the fortifications, military power, 
and tactics of the Japanese, as well as the most advan- 
tageous mode of attacking them, in case such a course 
•bould be found necessary. He seemed perfectly to 
understand my direction, and to be prepared to furnish 
his countrymen with much important information.* 
fteviously to his departure, Simanoff informed me that 
]ll(^ Moor had directed him to request Captain Rikord 
% wmd ashore the property he had left on board the 
'Ifmxof at the time he was made prisoner. I knew not 
vlat obnld be his object in making this application. I, 
kowever, ordered Simanoff to deliver the message to 

* {afterwards found I had formed an erroneous opinion of Simanoff; 
Cor, before he reached the ' Diana,' he had forgotten nearly the whole of 
lAat I had said to him, and could repeat only a few unconnected 
fr^mentB of my instructions. 


Captain RikorcJ, and at the same time to request that he 
would not send the property on shore, as, in doing so, he 
might involve us in fresh difficulties. Mr. Chlehnikoff 
sent a note by Simanoff, in which he warned Captain 
Rikord not to place too much confidence in the Japanese. 

We heard no accounts from Kunashier until the 2nd of 
June, when a short letter was brought to us, addressed by 
Captain Rikord to the governor of that island. It merely 
expressed what he had felt on receipt of the note we had 
written, which, he observed, fully satisfied him with 
respect to our safety. We were required to translate this 
letter, and both original and translation were immediately 
dispatched to Yeddo. 

On the 19th of July, Mr. Moor and I were summoned 
to the presence of the bunyo, and shown an official letter 
from Captain Rikord to Takahassy-Sampey, together with 
a letter to me and one to Mr. Moor. In the first letter 
Captain Rikord thanked the Japanese for their wish to 
correspond with the Russians, and promised immediately 
to sail back to Okotzk, and to return in September, 
bringing with him the declaration required by the 
Japanese Government. Being unacquainted with the 
entrance of the harbour of Chakodade, he wished to put 
into Endermo,* which had been visited by Captain 
Broughton, and he requested that a skilful pilot mi^t 
be sent thither to conduct the ship to Chakodade. 
Finally, he thanked Sampey for having permitted 
Simanoff to go on board the ' Diana.^ His letter to me 
commenced with the words which we had agreed should 
be the token of his haying received my note; he congra- 
tulated us on our approaching liberation, and promised to 

* Edomo is the name which the Japanese give to this harbour. 


return without fail in September. He advised Mr. Moor 
to be patient, and not to give way to despair, observing 
that his countrymen at home had had no small share of 
distress, difficulty and danger, to contend with. 

The bunyo withdrew after having heard an explanation 
of these papers. We then took copies and prepared 
translations, which were immediately sent to Yeddo. 

We were informed that the 'Diana^ left Kunashier 
immediately after these papers were sent ashore. Accord- 
ing to our calculation this must have been on the 10th of 
Jvly, A few days afterwards Sampey, Kumaddschero, 
Mid our two companions, returned to Matsmai. The 
reader may perhaps conjecture what were our feelings on 
again beholding them. 

I shall not detain the reader by a detail of the particu- 
lars stated by SimanoflF respecting the conferences between 
the Japanese and our countrymen ; as Captain Rikord^s 
narrative, subjoined to this volume, contains a full and 
accurate account of all that occurred in the negociations, 
I shall, therefore, merely mention here what the Japanese 
Aemselves disclosed on the subject. Kumaddschero, who 
kad been present with Sampey during the negociations, 
gave us reason to hope for the most favourable result ; the 
jvospect of which he ascribed entirely to the ability and 
IJhdbnt conduct of Captain Rikord, who had won the 
|nil*will of Tachaty-Kachi, and impressed him with an 
tMbed idea of the honour and rectitude of the Russians. 
Be knew not how to bestow sufficient commendation on 
Ciqptam Rikord, the officers of the ' Diana,^ and all the 
persons he had known in Kamtschatka. 

He arrived at Matsmai in company with Sampey, but 
kc was not permitted to pay us a visit, notwithstanding 


the infinite gratification it would have afforded both to 
him and ourselves. The Japanese laws required that he 
should have a guard set over him. His relations and 
friends were allowed to see him, and to remain with him 
as long as they pleased, but an imperial soldier was 
present the whole time of their visit. 

Sampey and Kumaddschero informed us that two large 
Dutch ships, laden with East India goods, had arrived at 
Nangasaky, from Batavia. They gave us a minute 
description of these vessels, telling us their length, 
breadth, depth, burthen in tons, the number of the crew 
on board each, and to what nation each individual 
belonged. One of these vessels must have been very 
large, since it was upwards of one hundred and thirty- 
feet in length, and had more than one hundred men on 
board. An elephant, which the Dutch had brought from 
the Island of Sumatra as a present for the Japanese 
Emperor, was described with the greatest minuteness 
imaginable. No circumstance was omitted, the place of 
his nativity, his age, length, height, thickness, the food 
he was accustomed to consume, and how many times in 
course of the day, and in what portions he was supplied 
with the different articles, were all carefully noted. , A 
native of Sumatra, who was the keeper of the elephant, 
was described with corresponding precision. 

The most important intelligence brought by the Dutch 
ships arrived at Nangasaky, was an account of the taking 
of Moscow. We were told that the Russians, in a fit of 
despair, had abandoned and burnt their capital, and that 
the whole of Russia, as far as Moscow, was under the 
dominion of the French. We expressed our disbelief of 
this story. Our doubts of its truth were unfeigned and 


mnmflttenced by any feeling of wounded pride. We 
indeed believed it possible that the enemy might have 
concluded a peace on terms advantageous to himself; but 
as to the loss of Moscow, we looked upon that statement 
as an invention of the Dutch, and it never cost us a 
moment's uneasiness. 

On the 21st of August, Kumaddschero secretly 
informed us, that in about five or six days we should be 
removed to a house which was preparing for our reception. 
Tins proved true. On the 26th we were conducted to 
the castle, where we found all the officers of the city in 
the great saloon, in which Arrao-Madsimano-Kami used 
ftHinerly to receive us. The academician and the Dutch 
interpreter* were likewise there, seated near the officers, 
but on seats somewhat lower. The governor entered soon 
after our arrival. Having taken his seat, he drew a paper 
from his bosom, and with the assistance of the interpreter, 
intimated that it was an order relative to us, which had 
been transmitted to him from the capital. He read it, 
and desired the interpreter to translate it to us. It was 
to the following purport : — That if the Russian vessel, 
according to the promise of Captain Rikord, should return 
that year to Chakodade, with the explanation required by 
jUie Japanese, and if the governor should regard that 
te^anation as satisfactory, the government authorised 
lita tD liberate us without delay. The governor then 

* After their arrival at Matsmai, these two men were always present 
iaiing our interviews with the officers, and whilst we were writing down 
tor translations. We once asked Teske the reason of this, and he told 
M that the governor vdshed that they should be witnesses to his conduct, 
leit some one might make a false representation of it to the government, 
ai Ifomia-Rinso had done with regard to the first hunyo. 


informed us, that, in conformity with these orders, wc 
must, in the course of a few days, depart for Chakodade, 
whither he himself was hkewise about to proceed, and that 
he wotJd see us on his arrival there. He then took his 
leave and dismissed us, wishing us health and a safe 



Rtfewell visits and presents — The prisoners leave Matsmai for Chakodade 
— Difficulty of explaining Russian words to the Japanese — Rescripts 
addressed to Laxman and Resanoff — Prohibition of- Christianity in 
Japan — The governor of Kunashier arrives at Chakodade — Fires — 
Punishment of incendiaries — The * Diana' enters the harbour of Edomo 
— Letters and presents for the bunyo of Matsmai— Curious watch — 
Military tactics of the Japanese — Interview between Captain Golownin 
and Captain Rikord — Congratulatory addresses and prayers for the 
safe voyage home — Departure — Golownin and his companions embark 
OD board the bunyo's barge, and are conveyed to the ' Diana.' 

On leaving the castle we were conducted to the house 
we had formerly inhabited. It had undergone a great 
change during our absence, and was now myich improved. 
The palisades, behind which armed soldiers were constantly 
itidioned, gave it formerly the appearance of a prison ; 
^Qt these were now removed, and our guards bad neither 
nraakets, nor bows and arrows. A very neat apartment 
WIS assigned to me, a separate one to Mr. Moor and Mr. 
Chlebnikoff, and a third one to the sailors and Alexei. 
Our food was likewise superior in quality to that which 
we had before been accustomed to. It was served up to 
08 in beautiful lacquered vessels, by well-dressed 
attendants, who treated us with every mark of respect. 



We had no sooner arrived at our new residence, than 
several oflScers, with their children, came to offer us their 
congratulations, and to bid us farewell. Some of these 
persons presented us with farewell cards in the Russian 
language, into which the interpreters had translated them 
from the Japanese ; they merely contained an adieu, and 
expressed a wish for our safe voyage. Last of all came 
the head of the Merchants' Company, or chief magistrate 
of the city, with his two assistants ; he presented us with 
a box of comfits. In the countenances of all our visitors 
we could read an unfeigned expression of joy for our 
good fortune. Mr. Chlebnikoff proposed that we should 
address a letter of thanks to the governor, which I readily 
agreed to, and begged that he himself would be the 
writer of it. The letter was accordingly written, trans- 
lated into Japanese, and forwarded to the governor, who, 
as our interpreters informed us, received it with the 
strongest emotions of sensibility. 

The Japanese now began to treat us like guests rather 
than prisoners. When our sailors sometimes showed an 
inclination to drink more spirits than was consistent with 
temperance, their attendants were directed not to serve it 
out to them without my consent, and only in such quantities 
as I should think fit to order. They were thus taught 
again to look upon me as their commander, which they 
had not before been required to do. 

As we were now convinced that the Japanese enter- 
tained the design of setting us at liberty, we wished to 
testify our gratitude to them as far as lay in our power- 
Mr. Chlebnikoff presented and explained to the acade- 
mician the tables which he had prepared. I translated 
from the work of Libes everything relating to the latest 
discoveries in astronomy, and gave him the extracts. 



together with my own observations npon them. We 
wished to make presents of all our books and other pro- 
perty to those individuals who had been most about us, 
and had manifested the greatest interest in our fate. 
They, however, said they could not accept them without 
the permission of their government, for which they pro- 
mised to apply. 

After the bunyo had declared that it was the intention 
of the Japanese government to grant us our liberty, we 
remained at Matsmai only three days, during which time 
we were liberally supplied with breakfast and dinner from 
the governor's kitchen, and the interpreters received 
orders to give us entertainments. 

We departed on the morning of the 10th of August, 
and were conducted through the city with great ceremony. 
The people, who had assembled in vast multitudes in the 
streets, all pressed forward to bid us farewell. Though 
Mr. Chlebnikoff complained of such pain in his feet, that 
he could with difficulty stand upright, yet he was required 
to proceed on foot through the streets ; but when we got 
out of the city, it was left to our own choice either to 
walk or to ride. Our escort consisted of an officer of the 
rank denominated Shtoyagu, our interpreter Teske, and 
_ "las brother, eight private soldiers, our servants, together 
'3§S& a number of litter-bearers, grooms for the horses, 
Ifie^ who were occasionally relieved. The officer treated 
It with great attention. Whenever we stopped to rest, 
ke seated himself beside us, gave us part of his own 
tobak;co, and shewed us many acts of kindness. 

On arriving at the place where we passed the night, I 
observed to Teske that our departure from Matsmai had 
taken place on a day which is celebrated with great pomp 
itt Russia; namely, the anniversary of the Saint whose 

D 2 


name our Emperor bears. The Japanese^ without aBy 
request on our part, immediately filled out some of their 
best sagi^ and we drank several glasses to the health of 
his Imperial Majesty. Our friends the Japanese followed 
our example^ and repeated the words, "liong live the 
Emperor Alexander!'^ the meaning of which Teske 
explained to them. 

In returning to Chakodade we took the same road by 
which we had travelled from that city to Matsmai, and 
we always halted in the same villages ; but we now enjoyed 
greater freedom, and our food was of a superior quality. 
The Japanese, however, kept a strict watch over Mr. Moor. 
They were apprehensive that distress of mind mi^t 
tempt him to commit suicide, for he was observed to shed 
tears on several occasions during our journey. When the 
persons of our escort enquired the cause of his affliction 
when all were happy around him, he replied that he felt 
himself unworthy of the kindness shewn him, and that 
his distress was occasioned by remorse. To us, how- 
ever, he declared that his uneasiness arose from the 
deceit and treachery of the Japanese ; who, he assured us, 
were bent on our destruction. Though Mr. Moor^s sus- 
picions were absurd, yet the sailors placed implicit faith 
in them, and manifested no slight degree of appre- 

On the 2nd of September we entered GhakodaAe, 
amidst a vast throng of spectators. The residence 
assigned to us was an imperial building, in the vicinity 
of the garrison. Our apartment was separated by a 
gallery from a little garden. To the palisades of the 
gallery wooden shatters were fastened, which were close 
at the bottom, but open about three feet distant from 
the top of the gallery. The light therefore penetrated 


but faintly through these apertures, and no external 
objects were visible. In this respect our house bore some 
resemblance to a prison, though it was extremely clean, 
md very neatly furnished. In the course of a few days, 
however, the shutters were at our request removed; and, 
besides enjoying light we had an unobstructed view of 
the garden. In addition to our usual repasts, we were 
now treated with apples, pears and sweetmeats, which 
aceoi'ding to the Japanese custom, were always served up 
mae hour before dinner. 

A short time after our arrival in Chakodade, we were 
?isited by the governpr of the city, the Ginmiyaku 
Kood-Simoto-Ohiogoro. He inquired after our health, 
wad observed that the house was much too small for our 
accommodation ; but as a vast number of officers were at 
Aat time in the city, and as the bunyo was likewise 
expected, all the best houses were engaged. He added, 
that the Russian vessel would, in all probability, arrive, 
and we should be sent back to our native country ; but 
diat if, contrary to all expectation, it did not come to 
Chakodade, another house would be provided for our 
winter residence. 

In the course of a few dayiJ, the Ginmiyaku, Sampey, 
die academician, the Dutch interpreter, and Kumadds- 
Ivhero, arrived at Chakodade by sea. The interpreter and 
-Ihir.aeademician immediately paid us a visit; they after- 
f ffoafc q)ent the whole of their time in our society, 
Hynrii^ing with us from morning till night, and they even 
give orders that their meals should be sent to our house. 
Hey spared no pains to obtain all the information they 
«Ould collect before the ^ Diana \ should arrive. The 
Datch interpreter transcribed several sheets of Ta- 
tttchtschew^s French and Russian dictionary, and he 


adopted the plan of translating the Russian significations 
of the French words into the Japanese. He thus made 
himself acquainted with the peculiar meaning of each 
word better than he could have done by any other method. 
To us^ however, this occupation proved extremely tedious 
and troublesome. I shall merely state one example, by 
which the reader may form some notion of the diflSculties 
we had to encounter. 

Among the Russian words which the Japanese had set 
down in the lexicon made at Matsmai, was ^^dostoiny^' 
(" worthy ^^), which we had translated to them by "mcri* 
torious/* " respectable/' &c. Y^e never entered into 
critical illustrations of words, knowing that it would be 
no easy task to make our pupils comprehend them. 
When the Japanese came to the word " digne/' which, in 
the French Russian dictionary, was unluckily exemplified 
by the phrase, " worthy of the gallows,^' they immediately 
concluded that the " gallows ^' must be some high oflSce, 
or distinguished reward. Notwithstanding all the pains 
we took to explain the meaning of the word " gallows,'^ 
the Japanese could not easily emei^e from the confusion 
of ideas in which they were involved by the diflerent 
definitions. " A meritorious, respectable man, worthy of 
the gallows \" was an association which they had formed 
in their minds, and which they repeated with amazement* 
We employed all our knowledge of the Japanese Ipii* 
guage, and summoned all our pantomimic powers to 
facilitate our explanations to the interpreters; and we 
were obliged to quote a number of examples in which the 
word " worthy*' corresponded in signification with the 
several translations given of it, and was made to apply to 
very difierent objects. When occurrences of this kind 
took place (and they were by no means infrequent), the 


Japanese would hang their heads on one side,* and 
exclaim : '* Musgassi kodoba ! khanakhanda musgassi 
kodoba!'' (''a difficult language! an extremely difficult 

The Dutch interpreter also undertook to translate into. 
Japanese a small Russian book, on the subject of vaccina- 
tion. The volume was brought to Japan by Leonsaimo, 
who had received it as a present from a Russian phy- 
wcian.t On the other hand, the academician laboured 
to collect all possible information from the Physics of 

But the office which. Teske performed was to us the 
most interesting and important of any. He told us, by 
order of the bunyo, that his government entertained 
doubts of Laxman and Resanoff having fully understood 
the explanations which had been given in answer to their 
inquiries ; for the embassy of Resanoff appeared to be 
altogether inconsistent with the intimation made to 
Laxman by the Japanese government, that a Russian 
ship would be admitted into Nangasaky, to treat on the 
subject of commercial relations. Resanoff had himself, 
on various occasions, manifested dissatisfaction, or rather 
dislike of the Japanese, and they therefore suspected that 
4e had not received a correct translation of the papers, 
tild consequently could not be acquainted with the nature 
#. iteir laws. The government, therefore, wished that 
i»«, together with the interpreters, should make new 
taranslations into Russian, of the original rescripts ad- 
dressed to Laxman and Resanoff: and that, on our 

♦ This movement amonjg the Japanese corresponds with the European 
ihrog of the shoulders, 
t This translation was completed before our departure. 


arrival in Russia^ we should transmit the translations to 
the government, or, if possible, to the Emperor himself. 
For the same purpose, the Japanese requested that we 
would take copies of Chwostoff s two documents to which 
I have before alluded. 

In translating these papers, our interpreters sought 
to adhere as closely as possible ^o the literal sense ; we 
likewise were no less desirous of becoming acquainted 
wit^ the peculiar idioms of the Japanese language, and cji 
obtalhing a correct translation of these interesting and 
important documents. We therefore paid no attention to 
style, and deviated as little from the original as the spirit 
of ouf own language would admit. On my return to 
Russia I laid these papers before the government. 

Our interpreters also gave us a complete history of the 
negociations between the Japanese and Laxman and 
Resanoff. The rescript delivered to Laxman evidently 
proves that the Japanese were not very well satisfied with 
his conduct; nevertheless, he succeeded in his mission, 
and obtained an authority for sending an envoy to Nan- 
gasaky, for the purpose of further communications. This 
permission shows, beyond a doubt, that the Japanese 
government was, at that time, willing to enter into a 
commercial intercourse with Russia. 

With the assistance of the interpreters we now pro- 
ceeded to translate the paper which was to be delivetfti 
with us on board Captain Rikord^s ship. It was to the 
following purport : 



"From the Ginmiyaks, 'the chief commanders next to 
the bunyo of Matsmai. 


"Twenty-two years ago a Russian vessel arrived at 
Matsroai^ and eleven years ago another came to Nan- 
gasaky. Though the laws of our country were, on both 
these occasions, minutely explained, yet we are of opinion 
that we have not been clearly understood on your part, 
owing to the great dissimilarity between our language 
and writing.* However, as we have now detained you, it 
will be easy to give you an explanation of these matters. 
When you return to Russia, communicate to the com- 
manders of the coasts of Kamtschatka, Okotzk and others, 
the declaration of our bunyo,t which will acquaint them 
irith the nature of the Japanese laws with respect to the 
arrival of foreign ships, and prevent a repetition of similar 
transgressions on your part. 

" In our country the Christian religion is strictly pro- 
ybited, and European vessels are not suffered to enter any 
Japanese harbour, except Nangasaky. This law does not 
(^ctend to Russian vessels only. It has not this year been 
enforced in Kunashier, because we wished to communicate 
with your countrymen, and orders have been issued to 
prevent firing against the vessel which is expected ; but 
all that may subsequently present themselves will be 
driven back by cannon-balls. Bear in mind this declara- 
^n, that you cannot complain, if at any future period 

^ On translating this passage Teske laughed, and candidly avowed 
tiol it was a mere artifice, to furnish the Japanese government with some 
iretenoe for liberating us without a violation of their laws. There was 
BO ground for supposing that Laxman and Resanoff had misunderstood 
aofthing that was stated to them. Teske assured us, that his countrymen 
were complete adepts in managing affairs of this kind, and that they 
sever scrupled at any diplomatic equivocation. 

t A paper which was to be given to Captain Rikord. 


you should experience a misfortune in consequence of your 
disregard of it. 

" Among us there exists this law : ^ If any European, 
residing in Japan, shall attempt to teach our people the 
Christian faith, he shall undergo a severe punishment, and 
shall not be restored to his native country/ As you, 
however, have not attempted so to do, you will be per- 
mitted to return home. Think well on this. 

^' About eight years ago, and three years previous to 
the arrival of the Russian vessel at our Kurile islands, 
Rashuauers* were repeatedly sent from the islands under 
your dominion to inspect our islands- Although we were 
aware of their real intentions, yet we took pity on the 
Rashuauers, who were compelled blindly to obey the com- 
mands of the Russians, and on two occasions we suffered 
them to depart. But should any of them again return, in 
defiance of our prohibition, they will be seized and con- 
demned to undergo a legal chastisement. Bear this like- 
wise in recollection. 

" Our countrymen wish to carry on no commerce with 
foreign lands ; for we know no want of necessary things. 
Though foreigners are permitted to trade to Nangasaky, 
even to that harbour only those are admitted with whom 
we have for a long period maintained relations, and we 
do not trade with them for the sake of gain, but for oth^ 
important objects.f From the repeated solicitations wbieh 
you have hitherto made to us, you evidently imagine that 
the customs of our country resemble those of your own ; 

* Meaning our Kuriles, because they came from the island of Rashaua. 

t To procure various medicinal roots, which do not grow in Japan, 
and to be informed of the events passing in other nations, are two of the 
important objects here alluded to. 


but you are very wroDg in thinking so. In future, there- 
fore, it will be better to say no more about commercial 

" Takahassy-Sampei, (L. S.) 

" Kood-Simoto-Chiogoro, (L.S/^) 

"Bunkwa, the ?6th day of the 9th month 
" of the 10th year." 

(The seals of both these officers were affixed to the 
original document.*) 

" Translated by 

" Murakami-Teske, 

^^ Wechara-Kumaddschero/^ 

When the translation was completed, Teske, by order of 
his superiors, observed to us that we must not, from the 
contents of this paper, infer that the Japanese enter- 
tained so great an abhorrence of the Christian faith as to 
legard all who acknowledged it as wicked and contemp- 
tible. " On the contrary,^^ added he, *^ we know there 
are good and bad people in eveiy country, and of all 
> idigions : the good are entitled to our love and respect, 
y ite whatever faith they may belong ; but the bad we hate 
!iyi ^espise.^^ Teske, besides, reminded us that the strict 
piBbition of Christianity, by the Japanese laws, was. 
wMf attributable to the mischievous civil wars which had 
soen in Japan after its introduction. 

♦ Every Japanese carries a seal ahout him, which he frequently substi- 
trtes for his signature. For instance, when a person in military service 
wids the orders of his superior officer, which are usually written on long 
ibeets of paper, he is required to affix his seal to them, and he cannot 
■fterwards plead ignorance as his excuse for disobeying them. 


The Schrabiyagu Qtachi-Koeki about this time arrived 
at Chakodade. He was governor of Kunashier during 
both the periods at which Captain Rikord visited that 
island. On his arrival, he immediately came to see u€, 
and we observed a marked change in his behaviour ; for 
he now treated us with great affability and politeness, 
made inquiries respecting our health, and wished us % 
speedy and safe return to Russia. We were informed by 
Teske that the answer this officer gave to Captain Record 
in the preceding autumn, when he declared that we were 
all dead, was really contrived with a hostile view; but 
that, on the last arrival of the Russian vessel, Otachi- 
Koeki had endeavoured to make amends for his former 
misconduct. It appeared that the fortress of Kunashier 
was garrisoned by troops belonging to the Prince of 
Nambu. The commander of these troops, though a 
person of distinction, and an older man than Otachi- 
Koeki, was his inferior in command, because the latter 
governed the island on the part of the emperor. The 
intention of the Japanese government to treat with the 
Russians had been communicated to the Nambu chief, 
but he had received no instructions on the subject from 
his own prince. On the appearance of the ' Diana^ he 
therefore made preparations for firing upon her, in con- 
formity with his former orders. This decree was, boir- 
ever, opposed by Otachi-Koeki,* and the officer who d^ib 
joined with him in the commission for treating with the 
Russians. They placed themselves before the cannon^ 

* Otachi-Koeki had requested that a colleague of equal rank with 
himself might be joined with him in this negotiation, in order that they 
might deliberate together on unexpected occurrences which required a 
prompt decision, and that the responsibility might rest on two persons 
instead of one. « 


and declared that if the Nambu chief had formed a deter- 
mination to attack the Russians^ he must first fire on 
them^ and all the Japanese in the imperial service ; for 
that, as long as they lived, they would, at every hazard, 
prevent him from executing his purpose. The obstinate 
Nambu leader was thus brought to comply with the 
wishes of the imperial government. We asked Teske 
how the emperor would regard this refractory conduct on 
the part of the commandant of the garrison. " The con- 
duct of the commandant,^^ replied he, " must be decided 
upon by the Prince of Nambu. The Emperor will 
merely inquire why his orders were not earlier dispatched.^' 

The two first weeks of September passed away, and we 
h«ard no tidings of the ^Diana.^ We feared that her 
departure had been delayed; and that, during the late 
season of the year, she had encountered some accident in 
her dangerous passage. We, therefore, hoped that 
Captain Rikord had postponed his voyage until the 
following spring, and we would willingly, on that account, 
hiwre remained eight or nine months longer in captivity. 
But Captain Rikord's courage and zeal prompted him to 
use the utmost dispatch. 

On the night of the 16th of September our interpreters 
surprised us with the agreeable tidings that a large Euro- 
I three-masted ship had been seen near Cape Ermio, 
the western side of the bay,* on which is situated 
ife luobour of Endermo or Edomo, which Captain Bikord 
virited to enter, in order to obtain a pilot. No doubt 
was entertained of the vessel being the ' Diana.^ We had, 

* Captain Broughton gave to this place the name of Vulcan's Bay, 
from the volcano which is in its neighbourhood. 


however, to lament that continual western winds detained 
her at sea near these dangerous coasts. The interpreters 
further informed us, that on the vessel being observed, a 
courier had been sent off to the bunyo, who, it was 
expected, would immediately proceed to Chakodade. 

We heard no more of the ^ Diana^ until the evening af 
the 21st of September, when we were informed that she 
had been seen that day at noon, near the east side of 
Vulcan^s Bay, endeavouring to enter the harbour of 

Meanwhile a vast number of oflScers and soldiers 
arrived from all places in the vicinity of Chakodade, and 
curiosity induced them continually to come to see us. 
On seeing so many strange visitors, and recollecting that, 
during our journey to Chakodade, we had observed new 
batteries and barracks erected along the bay and the 
coasts, I began to suspect that the Japanese intended by 
some stratagem to capture the ^ Diana," in revenge for 
Captain Rikord having seized one of their vessels and 
several men, on which occasion nine of their countrymen 
were drowned. In the course of the communication with 
Captain Rikord, this affair had never even been men- 
tioned : a circumstance which served to strengthen my 
suspicions. I asked Teske for what reason so consider- 
able a number of soldiers had assembled in Chakodade, 
and what was intended by the numerous preparations we 
had observed. He replied, that there was a Japanese law 
which required that measures of the strictest precaution 
should be adopted whenever their coasts were visited by 
foreign vessels. "When Resanoff was at Nangasaky,^' 
said he, "a far greater number of soldiers were assembled, 
and many more batteries erected : there are fewer troops 



lere on account of the difficulty experienced in collecting 
Aem/^ He smiled at my suspicions, and assured me 
that we had nothing to fear on the part of the Japanese. 

On the of September, the interpreters informed 
U8 that the ^ Diana^ had arrived in Edomo. They showed 
tts a letter, addressed by Captain Rikord to the official 
persons in that town, which had been written in the 
Japanese language by an interpreter named KisseleflF, 
and the contents of which Teske explained to us. One 
of the Japanese sailors, whom Captain Rikord had con- 
veyed home in the spring, had been sent to him as 
a pilot ; and he requested in his letter that a more intelli- 
gent man, and, if possible, Tachatay-Kachi, on whom he 
could place relfance, might be put on board the ' Diana.^ 
Captain Bikord also intimated that he stood in need of 
a supply of fresh water, and begged that his letters 
might be answered in the common, and not in the high 
language, as the interpreter KisseleflF could read only the 

Teske and Kumaddschero told us that orders had been 
immediately issued for supplying the ^Diana^ not only 
with water, but with provisions of every kind, as far as 
they could be procured in Edomo. With regard to 
Captain Rikord^s request, that his letters might be 
•iwered in the common language, they observed that 
TftEfas in that language could be signed only by inferior 
•fte^rs, and that, if the answers should contain anything 
iaqtortant, they would require the signatures of indivi- 
duals of higher rank; for, according to their laws, no 
person of distinction could sign official papers written 
in the vulgar tongue; consequently his wish in this 
respect could not be complied with. As to his appli- 


cation for Tachatay-Kachi, he could not be sent on board 
as a pilot, without the consent of the bunyo, and some 
days must therefore elapse before the regular permis- 
sion could be obtained. As, however, the Japanese 
authorities were well assured of the competency of the 
sailor who had been sent on board the ' Diana/ Captain 
Rikord might safely rely on him until his ship came 
within sight of Chakodade, when Tachatay-Kachi should 
be immediately sent on board. For this purpose regular 
signals were prepared, which communicated from a hill 
to the boat in which Kachi was to sail to the ' Diana/ 

It was wished that T should clearly explain to Captain 
Rikord all these arrangements. I agreed to do so ; and 
at the conclusion of my letter observed/ that I wrote 
to him in compliance with the request of the Japanese 
authorities, as they wished me to assure him that he had 
no reason to apprehend danger on entering Chakodade ; 
but this I could not resolve to do, lest I should become 
the instrument of the ruin of my countrymen, if the 
Japanese entertained any treacherous design. When I 
remarked that the Japanese might, by proceeding with 
candour and sincerity, convince Captain Rikord that he 
had nothing to fear, the interpreters made no observation 
on that subject, but expressed themselves satisfied with 
what I had written. I was informed that my letter had 
been forwarded to Captain Rikord. 

On the night of the 27th of September, a fire broke 
out in a magazine belonging to a merchant,^ at no great 

* During the spring two warehouses filled with goods, and in the 
course of the summer a house, all belonging to the same merchant, were 
burnt down. There was every reason to suspect that they were wilfully 
set on fire, but the perpetrators of the crime could not be discovered. 


£stance, from the house in which we Uved. Great alarm 
was excited in the city, the cause of which our attendants 
immediately explained to us; and they began to make 
preparations, in case our removal should have been found 
necessary. However, the interpreter and Sampey soon 
came to assure us that measures had been adopted to 
prevent the flames from communicating to our house. 
They then left us, and the fire was extinguished in the 
course of a few hours, but the magazine in which it first 
broke out was reduced to ashes. In cases of fire, the 
Japanese, both officers and soldiers, wear a particular 
dress, which we had now an opportunity of seeing. 
It exactly resembles their military uniform, consisting 
of coats of mail; but the whole is composed of light 
varnished leather, so that this armour is not burthen- 
some to the wearer, and cannot be injured by sparks 
isKiing from the fire. On the coat of mail the rank and 
<Ace of the wearer are described. 

To extinguish a fire is regarded a glorious achievement 
among the Japanese. When a fire breaks out in the 
abuttal, where there are numerous corps of troops, the 
commander who first proceeds to extinguish it fixes his 
standard near the spot, and it is deemed exceedingly 
fSensive if another officer should lend his assistance, 
without being invited by the individual who has by his 
miy arrival obtained possession of the ground. In 
bmmt times, occurrences of this nature frequently gave 
rae to duels between the princes and grandees, and 
•cnnetimes battles, in which their respective adherents 

Tl» i&terpreters informed us that occurrences of this, kind wpre by no 
flmas nnfrequent, although incendiaries are, by the laws of Japan, 
oondemned to a most seTere punishment 



engaged. Even now, serious contentions often arise, 
when one officer shows an inclination to deprive another 
of the honour of having extinguished a fire. 

On the morning of the 27th of September, the bunyo 
arrived, and in the evening the ' Diana ^ approached the 
harbour. In fulfilment of the promise made by the 
Japanese, Tachatay-Kachi was immediately sent on board, 
in company with the commander of the port,* as the 
latter was better acquainted with the dangers of that 
part of the coast. Night having already set in, the 
'Diana' brought up in safe anchoring ground at the 
mouth of the harbour. This we learned from the com- 
mander of the port, who returned on shore the same 

Though the wind was unfavourable, to the astonish- 
ment of the Japanese, the ship came into the harbour 
on the following day. From the window of a litfle 
apartment, in which our bath stood, we saw her working 
in. The bay was covered with boats, and every elevated 
spot in the city was crowded with spectators, who ware 
filled with amazement on seeing so large a vessel making 
progress on every tack against the wind. The Japaitese 
who were allowed access to us came every moment to 
express their wonder at the * Diana's' numerous sails, 
and the rapidity with which she advanced. 

A few hours after she cast anchor, Teske and Kumad- 
dschero, the academician, and the Dutch interpreter, 
appeared with a paper, which Tachatay-Kachi had re- 
ceived from Captain Rikord, and had conveyed ashore. 
This paper, which was by the bunyo's order brought 

♦ An office which corresponds with that of our harbour-master. 


to US for translation^ was an answer from the commander 
of the Okotzk district to the demand of the two officers 
next in rank to the bunyo. The document clearly ex- 
plained that the proceedings of Chwostoff were quite 
unauthorized by our Government; that the Emperor of 
Russia had always been favourably disposed towards 
Japan^ and that he had never entertained a design to 
injure the subjects of that empire. He accordingly 
advised the Japanese to prove, by our speedy liberation, 
their friendly disposition towards Russia. He added, that 
every delay on their part must be attended with injurious 
consequences to the Japanese commerce and fisheries, as 
the inhabitants of the coasts would be severely harassed 
by the Russian vessels, in case further visits to Japan, on 
account of this aflFair, should be necessary. 

The Japanese authorities expressed themselves highly 
pleased with the contents of this letter, and intimated that 
the explanations it contained were sufficient to produce a 
thorough conviction that Chwostoff had acted without the 
sanction of the Russian Government : they, therefore, 
congratulated us on the prospect of our speedy liberation 
and return to our native country. 

With regret I must now recur to a melancholy subject, 
from the day on which the ' Diana^ had first been dis- 
covered off the coast of Japan, Mr. Moor had appeared 
®B»uaDy melancholy and thoughtful. As he had no 
loBger any hope of remaining in Japan, he resolved, if 
pOBable, to prevent the communications which were about 
*o tike place. He began by observing, that the letter of 
Mr. Minitzky, the commander of Okotzk, was rude and 
^civil, and that it contained a tbreat, in declaring that 
4e Russian vessels would injure the trade of Japan and 


the people who inhabited its coasts. But he admitted 
that these were merely empty words. The interpreters, 
with some degree of dissatisfaction, replied, that the 
Japanese were not fools, but were well aware of the mis- 
chief which might be eflFected by Russian ships on their 
coasts, in case of war, and that they, moreover, thought 
Mr. Minitzky's letter extremely reasonable. We were 
much consoled by this declaration, on a subject which was 
to us of such weighty importance ; but all our prayers and 
entreaties made no impression on Mr. Moor. 

The interpreters informed us that Captain Rikord was 
the bearer of a letter and several presents from the civil 
governor of Irkutzk to the bunyo of Matsmai, and that 
he had expressed a wish to deliver them with his own 

A day was to be appointed for Captain Rikord's coming 
ashore, as it was stated tl^at the Japanese authorities did 
not dare to meet him in boats, for the purpose of com- 
municating with him. This circumstance rendered some 
of my companions a little uneasy. " What can be meant/' 
said they, ^' by wishing that another of our commanders 
should come ashore, when they have already made 5ne 
the victim of their treachery/' 

We looked forward with anxiety and fear for the 30th 
of September, the day on which it was determined that 
Captain Rikord should deliver the letter and presents for 
the bunyo. 

On the day on which this ceremony was to take place, 
the Japanese brought us some wretchedly executed por- 
traits of the Russian officers and sailors, which had been 
sketched as they came ashore. They observed, that the 
interpreter had a Japanese countenance, and that he must 


certainly be a native of Japan in a Russian dress. We, 
on our part, knew nothing respecting Kisseleff. When 
cmr interpreters explained to us Captain Rikord's letter 
from Edomo, which was written in Japanese by KisseleflF, 
they inquired who he was. We conjectured that he was 
a native of Irkutzk, and that he might have learned the 
knguage from the Japanese who lived there. 

The conference between Captain Rikord and the autho- 
rities being ended, the interpreters came to inform us 
that we might, if we pleased; ascend to the second story 
ef our house to see Rikord depart. We saw the govemor^s 
8tate boat sailing under three flags* from the shore to the 
'Diana;' but owing to the great distance, we could not 
recognise the individuals on board of it. 

We had no sooner returned to our apartments, than a 
fetter was brought to us; This letter had been delivered 
by Captain Rikord, and we were required to make a 
translation of it. It had been written by the civil 
Governor of Irkutzk, x)n Captain Rikord's first report, and 
ecmsequently before he could have been made acquainted 
with the contents of the Japanese document, which was 
lAbrwards sent on board the 'Diana.' The governor 
began by representing the object of our voyage, and the 
treacherous conduct of the Japanese at Kunashier; he 
Ibeai declared that Chwostoff had acted without the 
iM^tkm of the Russian Government, and entreated the 
Oovefoor of Matsmai to grant us our immediate freedom, 
Ortonegociate on that subject with Captain Rikord, his 
jiempotentiary. If, however, neither of these requests 
eodd be complied with, without the consent of the 

* The three flags were the Japanese standard, the Russian war-flag, 
' «ad the white flag of peace. 


Japanese Government, he was requested to state when, 
and to what place thp vessel should proceed, to obtain an 
answer. He mentioned the presents, consisting of a gold 
watch and some red cassimir, which he sent to the 
Governor of Matsmai, as tokens of his neighbourly friend- 
ship. He besides stated that Captain Bikord was the 
bearer of a letter of thanks, which he was directed to 
deliver whenever our freedom might be granted. Finally, 
he expressed his hope of obtaining an answer correspond- 
ing with his demand ; on failure of which, he should be 
compelled reluctantly to conclude that Japan was hos- 
tilely disposed towards Russia, and must lay before his 
Emperor a declaration to that effect. His Imperial 
Majesty would then consider himself bound to employ a 
force corresponding with his power, and to obtain satis- 
faction by an appeal to arms, though by such measures 
the empire of Japan might be shaken to its very 

When the translation was finished, the interpreters 
carried it to the bunyo ; but in a short time brought it 
back, for the purpose of obtaining some explanations 
which were deemed necessary. They praised the general 
tenor of the letter, and expressed their dissatisfaction at 
two passages only. The Japanese were astonished the 
letter should speak of the faithless conduct practised 
towards us, and describe it as an arbitrary measure of the 
Commandant of Kunashier, unsanctioned by the Emperor 
of Japan, since they had, by their communications, 
avowed that we were taken prisoners by order of the 
government. But their pride was chiefly wounded by 
the observation, that Japan would be shaken to its foun- 
dation. They insisted on being made acquainted with 
the precise meaning of this sentence. I first wished to 


explain to them by examples what was meant by the 
employment of a force corresponding with a person^s 
power. *' Suppose," said I, "that 1 were to throw a 
feather at an individual with whom I was oflFended, I 
should not then use a force corresponding with my 
power; but if I threw a heavy stone with violence, I 
should then use a corresponding force. In the same 
maimer, the two attacks made by Chwostoff in no way 
correspond with the power of Russia, and his two ships, 
in comparison with our empire, are not equal to a feather 
in my hand.^^ In order to make them understand the 
phrase ^^ shaken to its foundation,^' I shook Teske several 
times by the shoulders. 

At first, the Japanese seemed offended at our enter- 
taining so mean an opinion of the strength of their 
country, and asked with ill-humour how our Emperor 
could hope to shake Japan in that way. I replied 
that the letter alluded to the people of Japan, and not 
to the territory; ''and you must surely be convinced,^' 
added I, ''that if Russia chose to declare war against 
Japan, and to fit out a force, she might easily effect the 
destruction of your empire.'^ 

To set them at ease with regard to the threats which 
nad 80 irritated them, I observed, as it were accidentally, 
that the Governor of Irkutzk had written his letter 
hrfore he knew anything of the papers left behind by 
Chwostoff, the false declaration of the Kuriles, or the 
wish of the Japanese Government to correspond with 
fiussia. I added, that the governor would not have so 
^pressed himself, had he been convinced of the readiness 
of the Japanese to adjust all their past differences with 
Russia. This answer seemed to be fully satisfactory. 

Mr. Moor, nevertheless, declared that the letter of 


the Governor of Irkutzk was couched in arrogant and 
insulting terms, and that the presents he had sent were 
almost too insignificant to be offered to the meanest 
individual. It fortunately happened that these presents 
had, some time previously, been conveyed on shore. The 
watch was shown to us : it contained a curious piece of 
mechanism, which excited the astonishment of the Japa- 
nese, and they were totally unable to comprehend it. 
On touching a particular spring, a horse appeared 
drinking in a stream of water, and occasionally raising 
and lowering his head. On seeing this, Mr. Moor 
himself confessed that the present was not so trifling 
as he had supposed. The Japanese declared, that they 
had never before heard of so wonderful a work of art. 

When we had explained the governor's letter, the 
interpreters proposed that I should write to Captain 
Rikord, and request that he would send on shore the 
letter of thanks which had been entrusted to him. I, 
however, stated, that this could not be done, as Rikord 
had been directed not to deliver the letter until our 
liberation should take place. The interpreters acknow- 
ledged the justice of this objection, and said nothing 
more on the subject. 

Ill the meanwhile, Tachatay-Kachi, who had been 
sent to communicate personally with Captain Rikord, 
brought to his countrymen intelligence of the French 
having taken Moscow, and burnt it to ashes; and of 
their having afterwards retreated from Russia with a 
prodigious loss. This news greatly astonished us, and 
we felt very anxious to know every particular relating 
to these events. With the consent of the Japanese, I 
wrote a note to Captain Rikord to request that he would 
send me all the newspapers that might happen to be 


on board the sloop. On the following day, the interpreter 
brought to me the Military Gazette, and several letters 
from my friends and relations in Russia. I immediately 
declined breaking open any of the letters which were 
addressed to me, and requested Teste to enclose them 
in a packet, and send them back to the 'Diana.^ The 
interpreter praised my determination, and promised to 
make known my wish to the bunyo. I was well aware 
that, had I broken open these letters, I must immediately 
have made copies and translations of them, to be forwarded 
to the capital. The interpreter soon after informed me 
that the letters could not be sent back to the ship until 
we were set at liberty ; but that they had been sealed up 
in a packet, which they would deliver to me, and which I 
might carry on board with me at my departure. I 
readily agreed to this proposal. 

We perused the journals with the utmost impatience. 
They contained an account of all the events, which had 
taken place from the French invasion of Russia to the 
death of the Prince of Smolensko. The Japanese were 
almost as anxious as we to know by what means affairs 
had taken so surprising a turn in so short a period ; and 
they requested that we would give them a translated 
narrative of the most remarkable events of the campaign, 
When we informed them that the French had been 
obliged to fight their way • out of Moscow, in which 
46y were blocked up, and that almost their whole 
anny had been destroyed in Russia, they clapped their 
lufflds, and declared that the Prince of Smolensko 
Ktttosoff had manoeuvred in the true Japanese style; 
one of their principal maxims of war being to allure 
the enemy as far as possible into the interior of their 
country, and then to surround him on every side with 


powerful forces. We smiled at this comparison, and 
jokingly observed to each other, that the vanity of the 
Japanese might perhaps induce them to believe that 
Kutosoff had studied tactics in the books of which 
Chwostoff had plundered them. 

Tachatay-Kachi was permitted to visit us for the first 
time, on the 3rd of October. He came, accompanied 
by the interpreters, on his return from the ^Diana.^ 
This venerable old man was unable to express himself 
in the Russian language; but, with the assistance of 
the interpreter^, he succeeded in making us understand 
him in Japanese. He spoke in terms of the highest 
praise and gratitude of Captain Rikord, the officers and 
crew of the ' Diana,^ and of all the Russians whom he had 
known in Kamtschatka. We asked him many questions 
concerning Russia, but he could not satisfy our curiosity, 
owing to his ignorance of the subjects which most excited 
our interest. 

At length, the interpreters received orders to inform us 
that the bunyo considered the paper brought by Captain 
Rikord perfectly satisfactory, and that he had resolved to 
liberate us. Before my departure, he, however, wished 
that I should hold a conference with Captain Rikord on 
shore, in order that, being acquainted with the Japanese 
laws, knowing the strictness with which they were enforced, 
and in some measure familiar with the customs of the 
country, I might personally make the following com- 
munication to my friend. First, that though the 
Japanese did not cherish the least hostility towards the 
Russians, yet the bunyo of Matsmai could not accept 
of the presents which had been sent to him. If he 
accepted them, he would be bound to make some 
recompence for them; but intercourse of that kind 


was wholly prohibited by the laws of Japan. It was, 
therefore, hoped that we would not take oiFence at the 
presents being returned. Secondly, that the letter from 
the commandant of the circle of Okotzk was a satisfac- 
tory answer to the demand for explanation transmitted 
that year by Captain Rikord, therefore, the said letter 
would be the only paper mentioned in the written 
declaration which the bunyo intended should be delivered 
to Captain Rikord. Thirdly, that, as affairs, doubtless, 
stood in the state in which it was represented in the letter 
of the Commandant of Okotzk, the Bunyo of Matsmai 
could not answer the Governor of Irkutzk, as the latter 
was ignorant of many circumstances relative to Chwostoff, 
and had not been apprized of the intention of the 
Japanese Government to correspond with Russia on 
that subject. Fourthly, the Japanese requested that 
Mr. Rikord would address a letter to the two oflScers 
next in command to the bunyo, to assure them that 
the Governor of Irkutzk knew nothing of the documents 
left behind by Chwostoff, the false statements of the 
Kuriles, nor the intentions of the Japanese Government 
at the time he wrote his letter. Fifthly, and lastly,. that 
Captain Rikord should pledge himself to a perfect under- 
standing of the Russian translation of the declaration 
to be delivered in the name of the Bunyo of Matsmai, 
snd promise to lay it before our government on his 
Yetum; and, to enable him to give this pledge, I was 
ta be furnished with a copy of the declaration, which I 
wns to shew to him on our conference. 

The 6th of October was the day appointed for my 
interview with Captain Rikord. The Japanese authority 
proposed that Mr. Moor should be present ; but this, to 
their astonishment, he declined. Mr. Chlebnikoff wished 


to enjoy the satisfaction of seeing his countrymen and com- 
panions, but it was thought that, considering Mr. Moor's 
disordered state of mind, it would not be prudent to 
leave him alone. 

On the morning of the 5th, one of the interpreters 
brought my hat and the other my sword, which they 
presented to me with demonstrations of great respect, 
at the same time sincerely congratulating me. In 
compliance with the wish of the Japanese, I dressed 
myself in a rich silken jacket and loose trowsers, which 
had been made in Chakodade for the occasion.* The 
sword and cocked hat was calculated to add to the 
singularity of this costume in the eyes of the Europeans ; 
but the inconsistency was not so obvious to the Japanese. 
As, however, the restoration of our swords indicated that 
they no longer regarded us as prisoners, I readily acceded 
to their wishes, and resolved to appear before my com- 
panions in a dress in which, had they not been prepsured 
for the meeting, they might have found it difficult to 
recognise me. 

The place fixed upon for my interview with Captain 

* When the Japanese first expressed their intention of making this 
sort of state-dress for us, they brought for our inspection several pieces of 
rich silk stuff, resembling damask. The pieces were of different colours, 
j^nd each lay in a separate box. They desired that we should dach select 
the colour we liked best, but we insisted on leaving the choice to them, 
and declared that the colour was quite a matter of indifference to us. It 
was, however, insisted that we should choose for ourselves, since orders 
to that effect had been transmitted from the capital. I pointed to 
the box which happened to stand nearest to me, and my companions did 
the same. The Japanese then opened the rest of the boxes, showed us 
every piece of silk, and observed that they had received orders from 
the government to make our garments of the best materials, which were 
only to be procured in Matsraai. 


Rikord, was an apartment in the custom-house, which 
was situated near the shore. The three interpreters, the 
academician, and a few of the inferior officers, were 
ordered to be present as witnesses. At mid-day I was 
conducted to the custom-house, round which a number of 
troops were drawn up.* I proceeded in company with 
the interpreters to the conference chamber. The Japanese, 
according to custom, seated themselves upon the floor, 
but a seat was handed to me. Captain Rikord soon 
arrived in the governor's barge, accompanied by Mr. 
Saweljeff, one of his officers, the interpreter, Kisseleff", and 
a few sailors. The latter were stationed in an open place 
iu front of the house, and Captain Rikord, Saweljefl^, and 
Kisseleff, entered the apartment in which I was waiting 
to receive them. I leave the reader to imagine the feel- 
ings which attended our meeting. 

A seat was immediately placed for Captain Rikord; 
and the interpreters having intimated that we might con- 
verse together as long as we pleased, they stepped aside, 
and paid no attention to what we said. The joy, astonish- 
ment, and curiosity with which our questions and answers 
succeeded each other, may easily be conceived. Rikord 
wished to know all that had occurred to us during our 
imprisonment. I, in my turn, inquired respecting my 

* On festival days, or on the unusual occurrence of receiving foreigners, 
tbe Japanese soldiers wear silk, or velvet dresses, embroidered with gold 
«Bd silver, which are like their common gowns, with full hanging sleeves, 
only somewhat shorter. These state-dresses are the property of the 
goremment ; they are kept in imperial magazines, and only delivered to 
the soldiers on the occasions above-mentioned. They constitute no 
particular uniform, but are all made of diflferent materials, and variously 


friends at home and Russian aflfairs, and thus we pro- 
ceeded from one subject to another. At length I explained 
the object of our interview, and he acquainted me with 
the instructions he had received from the civil-governor 
of Irkutzk, respecting a determination of boundaries, and 
a treaty of friendship between the two empires. On taking 
into consideration the whole business, it appeared to us 
that the propositions of the Japanese were reasonable, 
and that, consequently, we ought to comply with them ; 
but for several reasons, we did not deem it advisable at 
that time to negociate for the fixing of boundaries and an 

When every thing was arranged between Captain 
Rikord and me, the Japanese produced the translated 
declaration of the Bunyo of Matsmai. Captain Rikord^ 
in return; delivered the document required by the 
Japanese, which Teske translated to the officers present, 
who declared themselves perfectly satisfied with it. The 
Japanese did not evince the least sign of impatience at 
the length of this interview, and at the end of our con- 
ference presented us with tea and sweetmeats. At length 
Captain Rikord departed. I accompanied him to the 
boat in which he embarked to go on board the " Diana,'' 
and then returned to our house. 

My companions awaited my return with the utmost 
anxiety. I acquainted them with all I had heard from 
Mr. Rikord respecting the political aflairs of Europe, the 
entrance of the French into Russia, and every particular 
relative to our families and friends. Two circumstances, 
however, I was under the necessity of concealing ; namely, 
that Tachatay-Kachi had communicated to the Japanese 
the instructions given to Mr. Rikord respecting the 


settling of the boundaries, and that the interpreter 
Kisseleff was a Japanese by birth. These facts I did not 
choose to disclose, that I might avoid giving uneasiness to 
my distrustful fellow prisoners, who to the last moment 
doubted the sincerity of the Japanese. 

It will appear from Captain Rikord^s account of his 
expedition to Matsmai how much we were indebted to 
him, and to his excellency the Civil Governor of Irkutzk. 
I must also, with a feeling of gratitude, mention that 
Captain Eikord's bold decision in landing to hold a con- 
feience in the town, contributed not a little to the 
favourable conclusion of the negociation ; for the inter- 
preters had previously assured us, that if Captain Rikord 
did not come on shore, great difficulties would arise, the 
end of which could not be foreseen. We had certainly no 
reason for supposing that the Japanese would act as 
treacherously towards Captain Rikord as they had done 
to us. Indeed, the formal declaration of the bunyo, that 
he was authorized to grant us our liberty on receiving a 
satisfactory answer, our new residence, and the good 
treatment we experienced, all tended to convince us of the 
contrary. But of these circumstances Mr. Rikord was 
ignorant ; besides, in my letter to him I had requested 
that he would incur no danger, and had advised him to 
communicate with the Japanese only in boats, at the 
distance of a gun-shot from the batteries. His resolution, 
diorefore, to come on shore in a Japanese boat did not 
arise from a conviction of there being no danger, but was 
dictated by his courage and generous determination to 
risk every thing for our deliverance. 

On the 6th of October, the interpreters delivered to 
Messrs. ChlebnikoflF and Moor their sabres and hats, and 


stated that we were on that day to be presented to the 
bunyo, who would in person notify our liberation. He 
advised us to put on our best clothes, and to wear our 
swords when we appeared before the bunyo. To this 
proposal we gladly assented. At noon we were conducted 
to the house of the governor of the town, where the 
bunyo resided. We three officers were shewn into a 
very neat apartment, and the sailors and Alexei were 
desired to remain in another. In a few hours Mr. 
ChlebnikoflF, Mr. Moor, and I, were requested to enter a 
spacious hall, in which the government officers, with the 
academician, and the interpreters, were assembled. They 
were more than twenty in number, and were seated in 
rows on each side of the hall. The bunyo soon entered 
with his retinue and took his seat. The official persona 
made their obedience to him, we bowed in the European 
way, and he returned our salutation : — all the old cere- 
monies were repeated, except that the sword-bearer, in- 
stead of laying the sword by the side of the bunyo as 
formerly, held it perpendicularly in both hands, with the 
hilt upwards. 

The bunyo then drew from his bosom a large sheet of 
paper, and, holding it up, said : " This contains the orders 
of the government.^' — The interpreters immediately trans- 
lated these words ; while the officers of the government 
sat with their eyes cast down, as if deprived of all anima- 
tion. The bunyo then unfolded the paper, and readjta 
contents aloud. It was the document, a copy of which 
has already been given, stating that ChwostoflF's miscon^ 
duct had been the occasion of our imprisonment; but 
that, as the bunyo was convinced that the said Chwostoff 
had acted without the sanction of the Russian Govern- 


tmoit, he was authorized to grant us our liberty^ and that 
we shonid embark on the following day. 

The interpreters having translated this paper^ and 
assured the bunyo that we understood it, one of the senior 
tifficers was dispatched in company with Kumaddschero to 
oommunicate its contents to the sailors. In the mean- 
^rfiile, the iHinyo produced another paper, which he like- 
wise read doud> and afterwards desired Teske to translate 
it and to hand it to me. It was a congratulatory address, 
and was to the following eflfect : 

*' You have now lived three years in a Japanese frontier 
town, and in a foreign climate, but you are now about to 
return to your native country. This aflfbrds me great 
pleasure. You, Captain Golownin, as the chief of your 
companions^ must have endured extreme anxiety of mind, 
and I sincerdy rejoice that you have attained your happy 
deliventnce. You have, in some measure, become 
acquainted with the laws of our country, which prohibit 
tts from maintaining any commerce with ihe people of 
forei^ nations, and require that we should banish all 
foreign Vessels from our coasts. Explain this to your 
countrymen on your return home. It has been our wish, 
whilst you remained in Japan, to treat you with all 
possible kindness; but, before you became acquainted 
with our customs, our behaviour may have appeared to 
yen the very opposite of what we intended. Each nation 
Ihb its peculiar customs, but good conduct will everywhere 
he esteemed as such. On your return to Russia, inform 
your countrymen of this likewise. I wish you all a safe 

We thanked the bunyo for his condescension. Having 



listened to our acknowledgments, he withdrew, and wc 
were requested to return to our house. 

Throughout the whole of these proceedings, not the 
slightest indication of joy was observable on Mr. Moor^s 
countenance : he merely repeated, that he was unworthy 
of the kindness which the Japanese conferred upon him. 

On return to our place of abode, a number of officers, 
soldiers, and other individuals came to wish us joy. The 
three officers next in rank to the bunyo also presented to 
me a written congratulation, which they requested I would 
preserve, as a memorial of our friendship. The following 
is a translation of this paper : 

" From the Ginmiyaks. 
" You have all Uved for a long period in Japan, but you 
are now about to return to your native country, by order 
of the bunyo. The period of your departure is fast 
approaching. During your long residence here, such an 
intimacy has arisen between us, that we cannot help 
regretting the necessity of our separation. The distance 
between the Island of Matsmai and our eastern capital is 
very considerable, and in this frontier town there are 
many deficiencies. You have, however, been accustomed 
to heat, cold and other variations of weather, and are now 
prepared for your happy voyage home. Your own joy 
must be extreme ; we, on our part, rejoice at the happy 
issue of the aflfair. May God protect you on your voyage ! 
— for that we pray to him. We write this as a farewell 

The pleasure of the Japanese was, indeed, unfeigned. 
We understood from the interpreters, that in consequence 


of an application from the High Priest of the city, the 
bunyo had issued orders that prayers for our safe voyage 
should be oflfered up in all the temples for the space of 
five days. 

On the 6th of October, one of the officers, accompanied 
by Kumaddschero, was sent on board the ^ Diana,' to 
inform Captain Rikord that the orders for our liberation 
had been officially announced by the bunyo. At their 
request, I wrote a letter to this effect to Mr. Rikord. In 
the evening, by the governor's order, a supper was laid 
out for us in the upper apartment of our house. It con- 
sisted of ten different dishes, containing fish, game, ducks 
and geese, cooked in various ways. After supper, some of 
the best Japanese sagi was served out to us. Several 
boxes, containing lackered vessels, were afterwards brought 
in, as presents from the interpreters, in return for the 
books which, with the consent of the government, they 
had received from us; but they had been ordered to 
accept of nothing more.* We were, however, very well 

* The Japanese kept a list of every article we possessed. A few 
days before our departure they looked over our things, and missed a pair 
of stockings, which we had cut in pieces for the purpose of distributing 
- among the guards. They*immediately inquired what had become of thetn. 
We replied, that we had given the pieces as presents to the soldiers, but 
dedined naming the individuals who had received the fragments ; but the 
nterpreters insisted on knovnng the names of the men, stating, that as 
Uie care of our property had been entrusted solely to them, they would 
be ceUtA to account in case of anything being left behind. They assured 
m that no punishment would await the ^ards. We, on the other hand, 
i^resented that there was no difference between our property and other 
Soropean articles, and that the government could not possibly ascertain 
that the things had not been brought to Japan by the Dutch. Here the 
matter rested. 

F 2 


assured that these presents were sent to us at the expense 
of the government. 

On the following day, the 7th of October, we put on 
our best dresses. The servants and guards packed up our 
other clothes in boxes, without omitting the least trifle, 
and placed them in the portico of the house. At mid-day 
we were conducted to the shore. Our clothes, the pre- 
sents we had received, and the provisions for our voyage,* 
were carried behind us by a number of attendants. On 
reaching the harbour, we entered a building near the 
custom-house, where Mr. Moor, Mr. Chlebnikoff and I, 
were shown into one apartment, and the sailors into 
another. We had been only a few moments in this place, 
when Captain Rikord came ashore, accompanied by Mr. 
SaweljeflF, the interpreter (KisseleflF), and some other indi- 
viduals. Rikord and his two companions were conducted 
to the same apartment in which, a few days before, my 
interview with him had takeii place, and which Mr. Chleb- 
nikoflF, Mr. Moor and I, were now requested to enter. 
Sampey and Chiogoro were among the officers whom we 
found assembled : they sat together on the place which 
had formerly been occupied by the bunyo. Sampey 
desired one of the inferior officers to present to Captain 
Rikord a salver, on which was a box, containing the decla- 
ration of the Bunyo of Matsmai, folded up in silken 
cloth. The officer, with much ceremony and respect, 
advanced to Captain Rikord, who, at the request of the 
Japanese, read the translation of the document from be- 
ginning to end. The next ceremony was the delivery to 

* These provisions consisted of fifty bags of ricei a few casks of sagi^ 
a quantity of salted and fresh fish, radishes, &c. 


me of the paper, entitled : " A Notification from the two 
officers next in rank to the Governor of Matsmai/' It was 
inclosed in a box, and wrapped in silk, but it was not pre- 
sented on a salver, nor by the same officer who had handed 
the other document to Captain Rikord. Though I knew 
perfectly well the contents of the paper, for the sake of 
formality, I was requested to read it. The presents sent 
by the Governor of Irkutzk were then returned to us, and 
we received a list of the provisions which had been pro- 
vided for our voyage. The Japanese, having wished us a 
happy return to Russia, took leave of us and withdrew. 

Everything being in readiness for our departure, we 
were conducted to the bunyo's barge, in which we em- 
barked, accompanied by Taehatay-Kachi ; our clothes, 
provisions, and the presents, being placed in separate 
boats. On our way from the custom-house to the boats, 
all the Japanese, not only those with whom we were 
acquainted, but the strangers who were looking on, bade 
us adieu, and wished us a safe voyage. 

The officers and seamen on board the ' Diana' received 
us with a degree of joy, or rather enthusiasm, which can 
only be felt by brothers or dear friends after a long 
absence, and a series of similar adventures. With regard 
to ourselves I can only say, that after an imprisonment 
of two years, two months, and twenty-six days, on finding 
ourselves again in an imperial Russian ship, surrounded 
by our countrymen, with whom we had for five or six 
years served in remote and dangerous voyages, we felt 
what men in such circumstances are capable of feeling, but 
which cannot be described. 



Japanese visitors to the * Diana' — Their wish to see the signature of 
the Emperor of Russia — Presents — Portrait of Kutasoff — Scrapolous 
honesty observed in restoring the property of the prisoners — The 
* Diana' leaves the harbour of Chakodade — Probable motives for the 
liberation of the Russian prisoners — Storm off the coast of Matsmai — 
Arrival at Kamtschatka — Moor's despondency — He commits suicide — 
Monument to his memory — Golownin departs from Petropaulowskoi — 
Arrives in St. Petersburg — Promotions and rewards granted to the 
officers and crew of the * Diana.' 

On our reaching the ' Diana/ the governor's boat im- 
mediately put back, by Captain Rikord^s orders, with a 
Japanese, who, on account of illness, had been left behind 
at Okotzk. Mr. Rikord wished this man to have been 
landed at Edomo, but there, as well as at Chakodade, the 
Japanese officers would not suflfer him to go ashore, and 
they now, for the first time, consented to receive him. 
This was one of the individuals who, in the year 1811, 
suffered shipwreck on the coast of Kamtschatka. One of 
his legs had been so severely frozen, that, notwithstanding 
every remedy applied by our physician, amputation was 
found necessary, and he walked with a wooden leg. At 
this the Japanese were greatly astonished ; for though the 
Dutch have made some of their surgeons acquainted with 


the art of amputating, yet very few are sufficiently skilful 
to attempt the operation. 

In the afternoon we were visited by our interpreters, 
the academician, and several officers, whose rank was 
three or four degrees beneath that of the bunyo. Teske 
and Kumaddschero brought presents for Captain Rikord 
and me, consisting of silk, Japanese tea, and their best 
sagi and sweetmeats ; in return for which, we entertained 
our guests with tea, sweet brandy and cordials. They 
drank so copiously that they soon became extremely 
cheerful and talkative. Captain Rikord delivered to the 
interpreters the letter of thanks from the Governor of 
Irkutzk, and as there was a copy at hand, they imme- 
diately, with our assistance, translated it into their own 
language. Our Japanese friends now expressed a wish to 
see the signature of the Emperor of Russia. Among my 
papers on board the vessel I happened to have an imperial 
rescript, which I had received on being invested with the 
order of St. Wladimir. I immediately laid the paper on 
the table, and pointed to the signature of the Emperor, 
upon which the Japanese all bowed their heads to the 
table, and in that position remained for several minutes. 
They then inspected the signature with demonstrations of 
the highest respect, and, having kept their eyes fixed 
upon it for some time, they again repeated the ceremony 
of bowing their heads to the table. 

When they were preparing to take their leave, we gave 
to each a present of more or less value, according to the 
degree of friendship which subsisted between us. They 
endeavoured to accept these presents unobserved by each 
other, and concealed whatever we gave them in their loose 
deeves, which occasionally answer the purpose of pockets. 
If we oflFered them anything of large size, they declined 


accepting it ; but they received books, maps and copper- 
plate prints, without the least reserve. We gave them mi 
atlas of Captain Krusenstem, several maps from the atlas 
of La Perouse, some books, and various other charts. 
The prints they accepted, but they returned the frames 
and glasses. Mr. Rikord gave them several engraved 
portraits of distinguished individuals, and a drawing of 
Prince KutusoflF, beautifully executed in crayons, by a soa 
of the Governor of Irkutzk* When we related the achieve- 
ments of Prince KutusoflF, they received his portrait with 
enthusiasm and gratitude ; we could not, however, prevail 
upon them to take the frame and glass, though we repre- 
sented that the former was merely a piece of gilt wood, of 
little or no value. We observed that the portrait of 
KutusoflF might be injured without a glass; but they 
replied that they would adopt means for preserving it 
when they went ashore 

Whilst the Japanese officers were entertained in the 
cabin, the deck of the ' Diana^ was covered with visitors* 
Soldiers, and even females, had come on board to see the 
interior of the ship, and, when the oflScers departed, the 
soldiers and women descended into the cabin. We 
readily granted them the satisfaction of vie^iting the 
curiosities and ornaments of the cabin, which Captain 
Bikord had fitted up in a very tasteful style. As tcJkens 
of remembrance. Captain Rikord gave to each of the Ja- 
panese a piece of fine red cloth, for making a tobacco^ 
bag, and two pieces of cut glass belonging to a chande- \ 
lier. They regarded the latter as great curiosities. To ' 
the children we gave pieces of sugar; but these little \ 
presents were immediately taken possession of by their 
parents, and carefully wrapped up in pieces of cloth. 
Our guests remained with us till evening, when, for the ^ 



first time, we enjoyed tranquillity, and an opportunity of 
conversing together respecting our native country, and the 
adventures we had encountered. 

On the following day, the 8th of October, we opened, 
out of curiosity, a box which had been sent on board in 
one of the boats : to our great astonishment it contained 
every article belonging to us, such as clothes, linen, 
money, &c., in short, everything down to the smallest 
piece of rag that had been left behind. On every article 
was marked the name of the individual to whom it be- 
Icmged. Among the things which Captain Rikord had 
sent on shore at Kunashier was a razor-case, containing 
a looking-glass, an article, the manufacture of which is 
totally unknown to the Japanese. On its removal from 
Kunashier to Chakodade, the looking-glass had acci- 
dttitally been broken, and we now found the pieces col- 
lected in a box, with a note, apologizing for the accident, 
which, it was observed, had arisen in consequence of the 
Japanese not knowing how to convey so brittle an 

Tachatay-Kachi was this day our first visitor. He 
informed us that our request to have a formal audience 
of the bunyo,t for the purpose of thanking him in per- 
son, was not approved; he therefore advised us to set 
sail without delay, adding that the ship would be fur- 
nished "with a supply of water. Several boats soon after 

* The Japanese have no looking-glasses. Their metal mirrors are, 
howeyer, so exquisitely polished, that they are scarcely inferior to our 
finest looking-glasses. 

t Captain Rikord had never seen the bunyo, though the latter saw 
him diiring our conference on the shore, where he sat, incognito, behind a 
t in the custom-house. 


came aloDgside for our water-casks, which were speedily 
filled, and sent on board. 

On the following day, everything was in readiness for 
our departure, but the wind proved unfavourable. On 
the 10th of October, we unmoored, and proceeded to 
work out of the bay. Teske, Kumaddschero, and Tacha- 
tay-Kachi, accompanied us in boats destined to give 
us assistance, if necessary. The shore was crowded 
with spectators to witness our departure. When we 
had completely left the harbour, our Japanese friends 
warmly repeated their wishes for our safe return home, 
and took their last farewell. With considerable difficulty 
we prevailed on them to accept a few presients; they 
assured us that we had already given them more than 
enough. As they left the ship, our repeated adieus 
were accompanied by ardent wishes that a friendly 
alliance might speedily be established between Russia 
and Japan. We separated with reciprocal cheers, and 
the Japanese continued their salutes as long as we 
remained within sight of each other ; but our sails were 
soon filled by a brisk and favourable breeze, and the 
' Diana ^ rapidly removed us from a land where we had 
endured much suffering, but where we had also expe- 
rienced the generosity of a pacific people, whom some 
Europeans, perhaps less civilized, regard as barbarians. 

And here I must take the liberty of offering a remark 
on th^ opinions of those who attribute our liberation, 
and the ultimate good conduct of the Japanese, to the 
cowardice of that people, and the dread of the vengeance 
of Russia. For my own part, I am persuaded that, 
generally speaking, they acted from feelings of humanity, 
not merely because I am always inclined to regard good 


effects as springing from good causes^ but because I can 
support my assertion by proof. Had fear operated on 
the minds of the Japanese, they would, at an earlier 
period, have come to a reconciliation with us; but, on 
the contrary, they had determined to resort to force, 
and had ordered Captain Rikord to be informed that 
we were dead at a time when they were using every 
precaution for the preservation of our health. Fear 
might, indeed, be supposed to have had some effect 
upon them, were the eastern provinces of Russia in 
1 a state corresponding with those of the west; but the 
Jjq)anese were well aware of the very important dif- 
ference between the two divisions of our empire. In my 
Narrative, however, the motives and the proceedings of 
hoth parties are presented to the consideration of the 
reader, who is thus afforded an opportunity of forming 
a judgment for himself. 

The only circumstance worthy of observation which 
occurred during our voyage from Chakodade to the har- 
bour of Petropaulowska, was a storm of extraordinary 
violence, which we encountered one night off the eastern 
coast of the island of Matsmai ; it even exceeded in fury 
and danger the two most dreadful tempests I ever expe- 
rienced — the one off Cape Horn, and the other during 
my voyage from the Cape of Good Hope to New Hol- 

We cast anchor in Awatscha Bay, (^ the 3rd of 
November. Though at that season scarcely habitable, 
Kamtschatka, with its snow-topped mountains, volcanoes, 
and impenetrable forests, seemed a paradise, for it was 
a portion of our native land. Several of our friends 
who now came on board were as much astonished at 


beholding me as though I had risen from the dead. In 
company with two of these friends, I went on shore at 

I turn once more to my unhappy companion Mr. Moor, 
whose deep repentance had extinguished all recollection 
of his errors. The sad fate of that officer cannot fail 
to excite sympathy in every feeling heart, whilst at the 
same time it will serve as a dreadful example of the con- 
sequences of similar misconduct. 

When we embarked on board the ' Diana ' at Chako- 
dade, the officers eagerly thronged round us; Mr. Moor, 
however, stood motionless, and apparently insensible to 
all that was passing. We all resolved among ourselves 
never, in his presence, to converse on the affairs of Japan, 
or to mention any circumstance which might remind hipi 
of his former conduct. We made every possible endea- 
vour to amuse his mind, by discoursing on subjects 
relative to Russia ; but all in vain. He dressed himself 
in a way unbecoming his rank, and seldom spoke, ev^n 
to the sailors, among whom he was principally to be 
found. When we remonstrated with him on this mode 
of proceeding, he usually replied : " I am unworthy to 
associate with my brother officers ; it is even too much 
if the sailors condescend to keep company with me.'' 
Even when we prevailed on him to come into the cabin, 
he remained buried in thought. For some days after 
we left Chakodade, he joined- the rest of the officers 
at dinner, supper, and tea; but this he soon discon- 
tinued, and confined himself entirely to his own cabin. 
Someiir-es, after fasting for the space of three days, 
^»i >voal'l eat a great quantity of food with the utmost 
»} It appeared as if he wished, by this irregular 


mode of living, to bring on himself some fatal disorder. 
Sncli was his strange behaviour until we arrived at Eamt-* 

Lieutenant Rndakoff, Mr. Moor^s old shipmate and 
friend^ was now Commandant of Petropaulowska. He 
Imd, a short time before^ married a beautiful and accom- 
plished young lady, and they resided in a spacious house 
near the harbour. We thought that if they could be 
prevailed on to receive Mr. Moor as their inmate, the 
society of an intelligent and sprightly woman might 
have the effect of removing the despondency under 
which he laboured. We accordingly made the proposal 
to Mr. Rudakoff, and he readily acceeded to it. But 
our hopes were quickly disappointed, for the change 
produced no difference whatever on Mr. Moor. He 
loved to seclude himself from the society of his friends ; 
and when alone, he wept aloud, and deprecated his 
unhappy fate. On one occasion, he so greatly alarmed 
Madame Rudakoff, that she considered it unsafe to live 
under the same roof. We then removed him to the 
house of a priest, with whom he had resided before our 
captivity. ReUgion and spiritual discourse might in- 
deed have had a beneficial effect upon Mr. Moor^s mind, 
had the priest been possessed of agreeable conversational 
power; but unfortunately such was not the case with 
Itther Alexander. His religious dissertation? were of 
too gloomy a character to produce any favourable impres- 
ifcm on the mind of our unhappy friend. 

After we were made prisoners in Kunashier, Mr. 
Hoor^s effects had been sold by auction, and he was 
now entitled to the sum of eight thousand rubles. We 
advised him to provide himself with a new outfit of 


clothes and various other articles, but he replied that 
he neither wanted money nor anything else. His dress 
consisted of an old Kamtschatdale parki, made of rein 
deer skin. He at length said that his conscience obliged 
him to address a report to me, in which he styled himself 
a traitor and an outcast, and declared that he felt him- 
self called upon by all that he regarded as sacred to make 
this confession. 

This report was so incoherent and extravagant, that not 
a doubt could longer remain of Mr. Moor having lost his 
senses. I immediately wrote a letter of consolation to 
my unhappy companion, to assure him that his error was 
not so enormous as he himself accounted it ; that we all 
wished to forget what was passed, and that, as he was 
young, he would have many opportunities of making 
amends for a fault into which he had been driven by 
despair. I added, that his future good conduct could not 
fail to remove all the remorse which agitated his mind. 
I requested that Lieutenant Rudakoff would be the bearer 
of this letter, and that he would use every endeavour to 
tranquillize his distressed friend. I afterwards visited 
him myself, accompanied by Captain Rikord, on which 
occasion we, in some measure, succeeded in cheering his 
spirits. He discoursed reasonably, thanked me for my 
letter, and observed that he was unworthy of so much 
kindness. In the course of a few days he expressed a 
wish to take up his abode in a Kamtschatdale village, 
where, he observed, he could live more at his ease, as the 
sight of the Russians, whom he daily met with in Petro-' 
paulowska constantly reminded him of his misconduct. 
It seemed advisable to allow him in this particular to 
follow his own inclination, and we hoped that time would 


the wounds which, in his present situation, every 

instance seemed to widen. Mr. Moor having obtained 

ission to remove, he began to make preparations for 

eparture, and purcha&ed everything which he thought 

d be necessary for his country life. The individuals 

|o for his safety it had been judged necessary to appoint 

ook after him, concluded that their duty of watching 

uld now, in a certain degree, be diminished. 

r. Moor was exceedingly fond of shooting, and when 
went abroad to enjoy that diversion, one of the guards 
directed to carry his gun, and to hand it him when 
wished to fire, but never to leave him for a moment. 
Oi le day, as he was out shooting on the shore of Awatscha 
Bi ly, he desired the soldier who accompanied him to 
turn home to dinner. " You need not fear,^^ said he, 
k aghing, " for if I wished to put an end to my life, I 
« uld do so at home with a knife or a sword.^^ The 
ao Idier obeyed. As, however, Mr. Moor did not return 
9t his usual time, the man went in search of him, and, 
with horror, beheld his bleeding and lifeless corpse on the 
sliore of the bay. His clothes were hanging on a post, 
and the gun lay by his side with a stick on the cock. 
He had apparently fired it with his foot. His body was 
opened, and in the breast were found two pieces of lead, 
with which he had loaded the gun. He had left on a 
table in his apartment, a paper containing the following 
singular expression : — " That life had become insup- 
portable to him, and that, at certain times, he could even 
fency he had swallowed the sun.'^ 

This unfortunate officer terminated his life on the 22nd 
of November, 1813, in the thirtieth year of his age. We 
erected a monument over his grave, on which were 
inscribed the following lines : — 







ON THE 22nd OF NOVEMBER, 1813, l'*' 









A TEAR! ' 





Mr. Moor was a man of great merit and varied attai|' 
ments. In addition to the knowledge requisite for lu 
profession/ he was conversant with several languages, ai| 
was an admirable draughtsman. He loved the service 
which he had devoted his life, and was zealous and indl 
fatigable in the discharge of his duty. In society he wij 
extremely entertaining. I had served on board the sanrj 
ship with him for five years previous to the unfortunal 
catastrophe which befel us at Kunashier. Had hot fal 
rendered me a witness of his errors, I never could ha^ 
believed him capable of such a change as his conduct i 
Japan exhibited. 

On the 2nd of December, Captain Rikord and p 
departed from Petropaulowska in sledges drawn by doga' 
The new year, 1814, commenced whilst we were in tha. 


extensive and uninhabitable steppe, called the Parapolsk 
Valley, which comprehends a space of three hundred 
wersts, and where travellers frequently fall victims to 
storms and drifts of snow. After surmounting many 
clangers, we entered the town Inschiginsk, in the middle 
of February, where the public service required that we 
should part. Captain Rikord turned back to retrace his 
journey j whilst I continued my onward course, and 
reached Okotzk on the 11th of March, having travelled 
with dogs a distance of more than three thousand wersts. 
On quitting Okot«k, I first travelled with dogs, and after- 
wards with rein-deer, or horses ; «nd when at a distance of 
two hundred and eighty wersts from Irkutzk I proceeded 
in post-kibitkes. I arrived at Irkutzk, by the winter 
road, at the latter end of April. In the middle of May 
I left Irkutzk, and reached St. Petersburg on the 22nd 
rfJuly."*^ Soon after my arrival I learned that his Imperial 
Majesty had promoted me to the rank of captain of the 
second rank. I felt this unexpected favour the more, as 
I had, about three years previously, been invested with 
the order of St. Wladimir. 

His Imperial Majesty afterwards rewarded the officers 

rf the ' Diana * in the following manner : to me and 

I Captain Rikord (who had likewise been appointed a 

I 4^tain of the second rank) he granted an annual pension 

I m fifteen hundred roubles each, and gave orders that our 

ibaratives sfiould be printed at the expense of the govern- 

ij^t. Lieutenants Jakuschkin and FilatoflF were each 

ittvested with the order of St. Wladimir of the fourth 

* I left St. Petersburgh on the 22nd of July, 1807, and by a singular 
•Cddent» after an absence of seven years, I arrived in that city on the 
nine day of the month, and at the same hour. 

VOL. II. c^ 


class. Mr. Chlebnikoff, who was a pilot of the ninth 
class, Messrs. Nowitzky and Sredney, pilots of the twelfth 
class, and Mr. Popyrin, the master-at-arms, received pen- 
sions to the amount of their full yearly pay; to Mr. 
Saweljeh, the clerk of the fourteenth class, was granted a 
pension ; to the commissary's assistant, Natschpinsky, the 
rank of the twelfth class ; to the master's mate, Labutin, 
the rank of the fourteenth class ; to the inferior officers, 
pensions amounting to a full year's pay; and to the 
inferior oMcers, who had been drafted from Okotzk, a 
gratuity of one year's pay. The sailors who had been 
prisoners in Japan, received permission to retire from the 
service, and were allowed annual pensions, amounting to 
their full yearly pay. The Kurile, Alexei, as a reward 
for his good conduct, was presented with a hanger, and 
received, instead of a pension, twenty pounds of powder, 
and forty pounds of shot. 


o 2 


It is hoped that the following notices of Japan and the 
Japanese will not be deemed a superfluous addition to the 
Narrative of my Captivity. The information here given 
was chiefly collected in the course of conversations with 
our interpreters and guards; but as it frequently hap- 
pened that they contradicted each other in their state- 
ments^ I considered it as my duty to set down in my 
memoranda^ only such facts as were confirmed by the 
concurrent testimony of several individuals. For faciUty 
of reference, these facts are arranged under the following 
general heads : 

1. Geographical situation and climate of Japan^ and 
origin of the Japanese nation. 

2. BeUgion and religious customs. 

3. National character, civilization, and language. 

4. Government of the empire. 

5. Laws and customs. 

6. Productions of the country ; trade and commerce. 

7. Population and military force ; and lastly, 

8. People who pay tribute to the Japanese, and colo- 




Geognqphical situation of the Japanese possessions — Tfaeir climate and 
extent — Origin of the Japanese nation — Ancient traditions — Hypothesis 
respecting the common origin of the Japanese and Chinese — ^Authentic 
history of Japan — Opinion of the Japanese relative to the origin of the 
human race. 

The geographical situation of the Japanese possessions 
isj in respect to latitude^ the same as that of the countries 
lying between the southern provinces of France and the 
south part of Morocco; their longitude is about 100° 
cast from St. Petersburg, so that in the central part of 
Ji^an the sun rises seven hours earlier than in that city. 
The Japanese empire consists of islands, of which the 
brgest and most considerable is Niphon. Its greatest 
length, from south-west to north-east, is one thousand 
three hundred wersts, and its greatest breadth about two 
hundred and sixty wersts. At a small distance northward 
of Niphon lies the twenty-second Kurile Island of 
Matmai or Matsmai, which is one thousand four hundred 


wersts in circumference. To the north of Matsmai are 
the Island of Sagaleen (of which only the southerly half 
belongs to Japan^ the other half being subject to the 
Chinese), and the three Kurile Islands of Kunashier, 
Tschikotan and Eetooroop (Turpu). South of Niphon, 
lie the two considerable islands of Kiosu and Sikonfu. 
The length of the first is above three hundred wersts ; 
and that of the second, two hundred. Besides these 
eight principal islands, the Japanese possess many others 
of inferior consequence. 

The Japanese possessions, surrounded by the Eastern 
Ocean, he opposite to the coasts of Corea, China and 
Tartary, from which they are separated by a broad strait, 
called the Sea of Japan, and, in the narrowest parts, the 
straits of Corea. The least breadth of this strait, between 
the southern coast of Nip^ion and Corea, is one hundred 
and forty wersts : but its ^eatest breadth is above eight 
hundred wersts. On a comparison of the geographical 
situation of the Japanese possessions, with that of the 
countries of the western hemisphere, in the same degrees 
of latitude, it might be imagined that the climate, the 
changes of seasons, and atmosphere, were alike in both ; 
but such a conclusion would be very erroneous. The 
diflFerence of the two parts of the world, in this respect, 
is so striking, that it deserves more particular notice. I 
wiU take, as an example, Matsmai, where I lived two 
years. This town lies in the forty-second degree of 
latitude, that is, on a parallel with Leghorn in Italy, 
Bilboa in Spain, and Toulon in France. In those places, the 
inhabitants hardly know what frost is ; and they never see 
snow, except on the tops of high mountains : in Matsmai, 
on the contrary, the ponds and lakes freeze, the snow lies 


in the valleys and plains from November till April, and 
falls, in as great abundance as with us in St. Petersburg. 
Severe frosts are indeed uncommon, yet the cold is often 
fifteen degrees of Beaumur. In summer, the parts of 
Europe situated in the same latitude as Matsmai enjoy, 
almost constantly, serene and warm weather : in Matsmai, 
OB. the other hand, the rain pours in torrents at least 
twice a week, the horizon is obscured by dark clouds, 
violent winds blow, and the fog is scarcely ever dispersed. 
In Europe, in corresponding latitudes, oranges, lemons, 
fig% &c., thrive in the open air; in the latter, apples, 
pears, peaches and grapes, hardly attain ripeness. 

I have not, it is true, been in Niphon, the principal 
iikaid of the Japanese possessions ; but I have heard 
from the natives that, in Yeddo, the capital city of the 
empire, in the thirty-sixth degree of latitude, snow often 
&]la, during the winter nights, to the depth of an inch or 
more. It is true it melts in a few hours ; but if we con- 
sider that Yeddo is in the same latitude as Malaga, in 
Spaiii) we shall be convinced that the cUmate of the 
€«8tem is much ruder than that of the western hemis- 
phere. The Japanese assured me that, on the southern 
part of Sagaleen, in the forty-seventh degree of latitude, 
the ground is often thawed, during the summer, only to 
a depth of a foot and a half. If we compare with this 
tbe climate of a place in Europe, of corresponding lati- 
tude, for example, Lyons in France, how different are 
tlie results ! That the accounts given by the Japanese are 
correct, I cannot doubt, for we ourselves met with great 
fields of ice, as late as the month of May, off the Kurile 
Island of Raschaua, in latitude 47° 45'. At that season, 
no ice is to be seen with us in the Gulf of Finland, in 
60° north latitude ; though the water there, from being so 


confined, has not power to break the ice, which disappears 
the more readily in consequence of the eflfects of the rays 
of the sun. Ofif Japan, on the contrary, the waves of the 
ocean would break it up much sooner, if the sun acted 
with the same power. 

This great difference of climate proceeds from local 
causes. The Japanese possessions lie in the eastern 
ocean, which may be truly called the Empire of Fogs. 
In the summer months, fog often continues three or four 
days without interruption, and there seldom passes a day 
which is not, for some hours, gloomy, rainy or foggy. 
In the eastern ocean perfectly clear days are as rare in 
summer as fogs in the western ocean. Though clear 
weather is more continuous in winter, yet a week seldom 
passes without two or three gloomy days. These fogs 
render the air cold and damp, and hinder the sun from 
producing so much effect as in countries in which the 
sky is clear. The northern parts of the Islands of Niphon, 
Matsmai, and Sagaleen, are moreover covered with ex- 
tremely high mountains (the summits of which are mostly 
above the clouds), whence the winds bring an extraor- 
dinary degree of cold. The Japanese possessions are 
separated from the continent of Asia by a strait, the 
greatest breadth of which is eight hundred wersts, and 
the country of the Mantchous and Tartary, which form 
the eastern frontier of Asia, towards Japan, are nothing but 
immense deserts covered with mountains and innumerable 
lakes, and the winds that blow over them, bring, even in 
summer, ^n extraordinary degree of cold. These causes 
may account for the striking difference of climate in the 
countries situated on the eastern part of the old world, 
and those of the western hemisphere of corresponding 
degrees of latitude. 


In the writings of Europeans relative to Japan, a great 
deal is said of the origin of the inhabitants of that 
empire; but all is founded on fabulous and uncertain 
traditions. One of these stories is, that the population of 
Japan originated with three hundred youths and virgins, 
whom an Emperor of Japan sent to Niphon, by the advice 
of his brother, for the purpose of searching for herbs to 
compose a beverage which should confer immortality. 
This and other similar fables are disregarded by the more 
sensible portion of the Japanese. Our interpreter, Teske, 
and the acadamecian, often in our conversations smiled, 
at the credulity of their countrymen in regard to their 
cnrigin. Among other traditions, they related to us the 
following : at a period of remote antiquity, the whole 
earth was covered with water, in which state it remained 
during a countless series of years without the Almighty 
Creator, whom the Japanese call " Tenko Sama ^^ (Ruler 
of Heaven) having cast his eye upon it. At length, 
Kami, his eldest son, obtained permission to render the 
earth habitable, and to people it. He took an extremely 
long pole to sound the depth of the water, which he found 
to be most shallow precisely in the spot where Japan is 
BOW situated. He raked the earth from the bottom, col- 
lected it in a heap, and created the Island of Niphon. 
Having furnished it with all the natural productions 
which still flourish there, he divided himself into two 
beings, one male and the other female, and peopled the 
new country. When the other children of God saw 
their brother^s work, they did the same in other parts of 
the globe, and though they succeeded in creating and 
peopling various countries, yet they were less able than 
their elder brother, and, hence, in their creation of nations 
and men, they did not attain the same perfection. Thus 


it happens that the Japanese are superior to all the 
other inhabitants of the earth, and the productions of 
Japan are better than all others. Teske, who laughed at 
this tradition, assured us that even to this day, most of his 
countrymen implicitly believe the fable, and many affirm 
that a part of the pole or staflF, which their first ancestor 
employed to measure the depths of the ocean, still exists 
as an evergreen-tree on one of the highest mountains of 
the Island of Niphon. 

I will not weary the reader by narrating other tradi- 
tions similarly absurd, many of which are devoutly 
believed by the ignorant and credulous portion of the 
people. I will only mention the opinion of the better 
informed Japanese concerning the origin of their nation. 
They are convinced that the Japanese and the Kuriles 
were originally one and the same nation, and that they 
are descended from the same stock. They endeavour to 
prove this by a number of words common to both 
languages, by the resemblance of certain traditions, 
believed by the people of Japan and those of the Kurile 
Islands, as well as by some usages which have been common 
from ancient times to both nations. This hypothesis is 
really supported by the Japanese language, as well as by the 
features and manners of the people, their laws and customs. 
Everything, on the other hand, seems to testify that the 
Chinese and the Japanese were never one people. The 
Japanese themselves repudiate the idea of the Chinese 
having been their ancestors ; and their contempt of that 
nation goes so far, that when they mean to call any one a 
rogue or a cheat, they say he is a true Chinese. Never- 
theless, they admit that many families in Japan are of 
Chinese origin. Their history does not indeed record any 
migration of the Chinese to Japan, but they believe that. 


in the frequent wars between the two nations, the Japanese 
took a great number of Chinese prisoners. According to 
the accounts of the Japanese historians, the Chinese were 
conquered in all the wars, and only the principle of the 
Japanese policy, not to extend their dominions, withheld 
them from entirely subduing China. Though these state- 
ments are doubtless exaggerated, yet it may fairly be pre- 
sumed that the Japanese obtained very great advantages 
in the early wars with the Chinese. The great respect 
which the Chinese Emperors render to the Emperors of 
Japan, and the arrogance with which the Japanese treat 
those Chinese who come to them for purposes of trade, 
tend to support this supposition. It is, therefore, pro- 
bable, that the Japanese, who made frequent and suc- 
cessful attacks on the Chinese coasts, took numerous 
prisoners, whom they brought off as slaves. The Japa- 
nese historians also assert, that emigrants from India 
settled among them, from whom the reUgious sect, now 
predominant, borrowed its faith, which appears to be 
merely the faith of the Brahmins under another form. 

This is all that well-informed Japanese regard as 
certain respecting the origin of their nation. They 
affirm that their history has acquired a certain degree 
of authenticity, since the government of the present 
house of Kin-Rey, or of the spiritual emperors, has 
been established ; that is, according to their chronology, 
for a period of above two thousand four hundred years, or 
six centuries before the birth of Christ. Some of the 
most important events of these twenty-four centuries 
are described by historians pretty much in detail, others 
are only touched upon. The names of aU the spiritual 
emperors of this house, as well as their successors, and 
the years of their accession to the government, are known 


to the Japanese. All traditions respecting events pre- 
ceding that period, they regard as fables undeserving 
of belief, even though mentioned by their historians. 

In a conversation on this subject, Teske made the 
following remark : *' Though traditions of this kind,^^ 
said he, ''are ridiculous and incredible, yet we must 
not disturb the popular belief in them ; for that belief 
is useful to the State. It causes the people to prefer 
themselves to all other nations, to despise foreign manners, 
and, in general, everything that is foreign; and the 
Japanese have learned, by dearly-bought experience, that 
it has always been attended with misfortune to them 
when they adopted anything foreign, or suffered foreigners 
to interfere in their concerns. Besides, the same prejudice 
that teaches a people to love their country above all 
things, binds them to their native soil, and deters them 
from exchanging it for a foreign land.^^ 

In the opinion of Teske and the academician, researches 
into the origin of a people, and enquiries as to what nations 
in ancient times sprang from one common stock, are frivo- 
lous and useless, and at best calculated only to amuse idle 
people, and to furnish materials for fiction. " For,^^ said 
they, " if even old persons give wholly different accounts 
of events of which they were witnesses in their youth, how 
is it possible to believe traditions, which must have been 
handed down through many generations ? Or how can 
we immediately draw a conclusion that two nations are of 
the same origin, because they have two or three words 
alike in their langus^ge, or some peculiar custom common 
to both?^^ How far these notions of my Japanese friends 
are just, I shall not attempt to determine. 

Even the most unprejudiced Japanese will not believe 
that all the nations of the world descend from a single 


man. As a proof of the contrary, they allege the differ- 
ence in the external appearance of different nations. 
" How can we persuade ourselves," «ay they, ^^ that 
the Dutch and the negroes on board their ships, could 
be descended from the same common parents, even many 
thousand years ago ?" 



Discovery of Japan— Catholic missionaries — Their mercenary motives — 
Prohibitory edicts for the extirpation of Christianity — Timid character 
of the Japanese— National characteristics — Temperance — Dissolute- 
ness — Education and knowledge among the people — Japanese notions 
of history — Geography — Civility and politeness among the people — 
The Japanese language. 

Japan first became known to Europeans about the 
middle of the sixteenth century.* The rage for con- 
quering newly discovered countries, was the prevailing 
spirit among the great powers of those times. The 
Portuguese wished to subjugate Japan, and, according 
to their custom, began by trading and preaching the 
Catholic faith. The missionaries whom they sent to 
Japan had free access to the interior of the kingdom, 
and had at first wonderful success in converting their 

* The first European ship that ever reached Japan is understood to 
have been Portuguese, and to have been driven thither by a tempest, in 
1534. Marco Polo did not personally visit Japan. He speaks of that 
country from information he obtained in China, describing it, under the 
name of Zipanga, as a country rich in gold and silver, pearls and precious 


new disciples. But the Emperor Teigo*, who reigned 
in Japan at the end of the sixteenth century^ soon 
remarked that the Jesuits were much more eager to 
collect Japanese gold^ than to save the souls of their new 
converts ; he, therefore, resolved to extirpate Christianity 
in Japan, and to banish the missionaries from his 
dominions. Charlevoix mentions in his history, that 
this determination of Teigo Sama was caused by the 
declaration of a Spanish captain, who, being asked by 
the Japanese ^^ by what means his Sovereign had 
succeeded in subduing such great countries, particularly 
America?'' answered, that they had effected that object 
in a very easy way, by first converting to Christianity 
the inhabitants of the countries which they desired to 
subdue. I know not how far this statement may be 
correct, but, in the opinion of the Japanese, the chief, 
or rather, only ground of the extirpation of the Chris- 
tians from Japan, was the insolent conduct of the 
Jesuits and Franciscans, sent by the Spaniards, as well as 
the rapacity of the Portuguese merchants. Both the 
monks and the merchants committed excesses of every 
kind to obtain their ends, and to enrich themselves. 
Other emperors, therefore, though less shrewd than 
Teigo, might easily have perceived that self-interest 
was the only motives of those preachers, and that religion 
was merely the instrument by which they hoped to 
further their mercenary schemes. 

Be this as it may, Teigo and his successors succeeded 
in expelling all Europeans* from their dominions, and 

* By some writers called Teko Sama; but the Japanese pronounce 
H Teigo. The word Sama signifies ruler, and is affixed to the name, 
t The Dutch excepted. They assured the Japanese that they were no 


in wholly rooting out the Christian faith. Even in the 
middle of the seventeenth century, no individual in 
Japan ventured publicly to profess Christianity. The 
bad conduct and the covetousness of the Catholic priests 
and of the Portuguese merchants, excited in the Japa- 
nese Government an inveterate hatred of Christianity; 
and the persecution of Christians was accompanied with 
the most dreadful tortures that ingenuity could devise. 
Rigorous edicts prohibited any Christian from showing 
himself in Japan ; any Japanese ship from visiting forrign 
countries for the sake of trade ; or any native leaving his 
country, lest he should be converted, when abroad, to the 
Christian faith. 

When we examine dispassionately, and without preju- 
dice, the real though hidden motive which impelled the 
Portuguese, and then the Spaniards, to preach the 
Catholic faith in Japan ; — when we consider their 
licentious conduct in that country, and the evils which 
they caused in it, by endeavouring to annihilate the 
religion which had long prevailed, to overturn the 
legitimate authority, and to subjugate a numerous, 
peaceful, and harmless people ; — if we bear in mind, that 
the plan of those pretended Christians was to disturb the 
tranquillity of the nation and excite civil war, can it be 
surprising that the Japanese should act with severity, 
and even cruelty towards Christians. 

The Japanese are deficient in one virtue highly 
esteemed among Europeans, namely, courage. But 

Christians, and in consequence obtained permission to carry on trade ; 
but on conditions which render the Dutch in Japan, as it were, prisoners. 
It is almost impossible to regard them as a free people, visiting the 
country for the sake of trade. 


their timidity may, in a great degree, be attributed 
to the peaceful character of their government, the long 
repose which the nation has enjoyed, or rather, of their 
being unaccustomed to shed blood. 

Strong liquors are in use among the Japanese. The 
common people are very fond of them, and frequently 
drink to excess on hohdays ; but the vice of drunkenness 
is far less common in Japan than in many European 
countries. To be intoxicated in the daytime is looked 
upon as very disgraceful, even among the common people ; 
tiie votaries of drinking, therefore, do not indulge their 
propensity until evening, after the termination of all 
labour and business. Besides, the Japanese drink only 
on particular occasions, and in the social circle, and 
not as the common men do in Europe. 

Among the vices of the Japanese, the most prevalent 
appears to be incontinence. Though the law allows a 
man no more than one wife, yet it grants the right of 
keeping concubines ; and the opulent classes avail them- 
selves of this right even to excess. Bagnios are under 
the protection of the laws ; they have their regulations, 
rules, and privileges, and the owners of them enjoy 
the rights and privileges accorded to merchants. These 
houses are generally kept open from sun-set to sun-rise, 
during which time music is almost continually played 
and drums beaten. There were some such places near 
our place of abode at Matsmai, and scarcely a single 
night elapsed during which we did not hear the music 
and drums. We were informed that at Yeddo, the 
capital of the temporal emperor, the largest establish- 
ments of this kind are nothing inferior in magnificence 
to the palaces of princes. In one of these temples 



dedicated to Venus, there are no less than six hundred 

Revenge might be reckoned, in earlier times, among 
the vices of the Japanese." The duty of revenging an 
injury formerly descended from grandfather to grandson 
and even lower, till the descendants of the person injured 
found an opportunity to take vengeance on the descendants 
of the oflfender ; but in present times, I was assured this 
propensity no longer prevails to such a degree, and 
oflFences are sooner forgotten. 

The Japanese may be said to be frugal, without being 
niggardly. They hold covetousness in great contempt, 
and have many severe apologues at the expense of misers. 
The decent and even rich clothing which they continually 
wear, according to their respective ranks, proves the care- 
ful habits of the people. 

In respect to the degree of knowledge to be found 
among the people at large, the Japanese, comparing one 
nation with another, are the most enlightened nation in. 
the world. Nearly every individual is able to read and 
write, and knows the laws of his country, which are 
seldom changed, and the most important of which are 
publicly exhibited on large tables in the towns and villages, 
in the public squares, and other places. In agriculture, 
horticulture, the finery, the chase, the manufacture of 

* Tt is a curious fact, that although the owners of these infamous 
receptacles have the imperial licence, yet are they held in detestation by 
the people. When any of them die, they are regarded as unworthy to 
rest amongst the worst of mankind. A bridle made of straw being put 
into their mouths, they are dragged in the clothes they died in through 
the streets into fields, and there cast upon a dunghill, for dogs and birds 
of prey to devour. 


silk and woollen stuffs, of porcelain and lackered goods, 
and in the polishing of metals, they are not inferior 
to Europeans. They are also well acquainted with 
mining, and understand how to make several works in 
metal.* In the arts of cabinet-making and turnery they 
are perfect masters : they are, besides, admirably skilled 
in the manufacture of all articles belonging to domestic 

As an instance of the knowledge which not unfrequently 
prevails among the inferior classes of the people, I may 
mention the following fact. A common soldier, who was 
one of our guard during our captivity, one day took a 
tea-cup, pointed to it, and asked me whether I knew that 
our earth was round, and what was the relative position 
of Europe and Japan, pointing out, at the same time, 
pretty accurately upon the cup, the respective situations 
of both countries upon the globe. Several other soldiers 
showed us geometrical figures, and enquired whether 
these methods of measuring and dividing the earth were 
known to us. Every Japanese is acquainted with the 
virtues of the various medicinal herbs which grow in that 
climate, and almost every one carries about him the 
medicines most usually required, such as aperients, 
emetics, &c., which he immediately uses in case of need. 

* It may be difficult to separate the knowledge originally possessed by 
the Japanese from that acquired by intercourse with Europeans which, 
in the early stage of our acquaintance with them, was undogc few 
restrictions. Thus, for instance, it is perhaps scarcely possible to say, 
whether they obtained the knowledge of gunpowder from the first Portu- 
guese discoverers, or from China, where it is said to have been used 
long before its discovery in Europe. Telescopes, also, are described 
by Thunberg as in frequent use in Japan, at a period when they were 
unknown to us. 

H 2 


The Japanese have, however, in common with other 
nations, the absurd and often fatal notion, that cures are 
to be effected by sympathy. 

Except men of rank, who have a part in the govern- 
ment, and scholars, or men of learning, the Japanese 
have very confined notions of other nations. It is the 
policy of the government to check the knowledge of 
foreign manners and customs, that it may not corrupt the 
people, and make them deviate from the object to which 
the wisdom of the laws conducts them ; namely, to live in 
contentment, tranquillity and abundance. 

The geographical knowledge of the Japanese consists in 
being able to show upon the map where a country lies, 
and what space it occupies. 

They consider the histories of all foreign nations, 
except China, as useless, and unworthy of their attention, 
and they ask to what purpose they must know all the 
tales which every nation invents out of vanity. The 
members of the government, and the learned are not, 
however, wholly imconcemed respecting the modem 
history of European states, particularly those which are 
nearest to them. The government endeavours to obtain, 
by means of the Chinese and Dutch, information respect- 
ing the political events in Europe, and observes the 
course they take. The Russian settlements in America;, 
and the preponderance of the English in India, mak^ 
them very uneasy. Notwithstanding all the pains wA 
took to convince them of the truly pacific intentions of 
our Emperor and his government, many Japanese were 
afraid that their turn to be attacked would come sooner or 
later. They communicated their conjectures by circum- 
locutions. ^^All sovereigns,^^ said they, "have not the 

JAPAN AND the-mpjlnUse^ ^j* t-:!' :li)i;; 

same dispositions ; one loves peace, and another war :" 
once they owned to us, that a tradition had been current 
among them from ancient times, setting forth that the 
time would come when a people from the north would 
subdue Japan. 

The Japanese are very well acquainted with the history 
and geography of their own country: and the perusal 
of historical books relating to Japan is their favourite 

In painting, architecture, sculpture, engraving, music, 
and poetry, they are far inferior to Europeans. In the 
art of war they are still children, and wholly unacquainted 
with navigation, except of their own coasts. 

The Japanese Government is desirous that the people 
should be satisfied with the degree of knowledge they 
possess, and that they should make use only of the pro- 
ductions of their own country. They are forbidden to 
adopt anything foreign, lest foreign manners should creep 
in with foreign arts and sciences. It is curious to mark 
some of the points in which they diflfer from, and also 
those in which they agree with other nations, with whom 
they have had no possible intercourse. With respect to 
Europe, they have been called our moral antipodes. 
White they consider as the colour of mourning; black, 
that of joy. They mount a horse on the oflT-side, like the 
Arabians ; the reason assigned for which is, that in an 
action so noble and manly, it is wrong to rest upon the 
left foot. They wear habits of ceremony or their 
Sunday clothes in the house : but lay them aside in 
going out. They salute the foot, instead of the head or 
hands, &c. 

In their intercourse with each other, the Japanese of 

• JOy: •..:.• *. I:irAftA.jf- AN^ the Japanese. 

cveiy rank are extremely polite; their mutual courtesy 
and polished behaviour attest the real civilization of the 
people. During the whole time of our imprisonment we 
were with Japanese who did not belong to the higher 
classes; yet we never heard them quarrel or employ 
abusive language. We were often witnesses to disputes 
between them ; but they were carried on with a wonderful 
degree of moderation and temper.* 

The Japanese language is not borrowed from that of any 
other nation ; it has descended from the common proge- 
nitors of the Japanese and Kuriles. Former intercourse 
with the Chinese, the Coreans, and other nations, has 
introduced into it a number of words which now pass for 
national. Some European words also are in use among 
the Japanese ; for example : savon, soap ;t buton, button; 
tabago, tobacco, &c. 

It is strange, that they call money (in Russian,' dengi) 

* The extreme politeness of the Japanese has been described by the 
earliest writers. They account for it by stating that all the riches of this 
powerful empire are in the hands of the princes and nobility, who make a 
great show of their wealth ; their magnificence being carried to greater 
extent than anything known in Europe, or recorded in the history of the 
most powerful monarchies of ancient times. All this is seen by the great 
mass of the people without t^ie slightest envy ; and if it happens that any 
nobleman, or man of high rank, by any unhappy accident, or by incurring 
the prince's displeasure, should fall into indigence, still he is not the less 
proud, nor less respected than in his most brilliant fortunes ; and into 
whatever misery or poverty a gentleman may be reduced, he never forms 
an alliance beneath his own rank. The point of honour is also extremely 
sensitive in all ranks, and the lowest of the people would feel hurt 
by any rude expression, even from a nobleman of the highest dignity, 
and would believe themselves justified in manifesting their resentment. 
Thus every one is upon his guard, and all ranks respect each other 

t The Japanese do not prepare their soap themselves, but they receive 


deni; and anchor (in Russian, takor) takori. Is the 
similarity of these words merely accidental ? 

I have mentioned in my narrative, that in books, state 
papers, and correspondence between people of the higher 
class, the Chinese method of writing is used ; that is to say, 
by symbols. The common people, when they write, use an 
alphabet consisting of forty-eight letters, but many of 
them are properly not letters, but syllables, as me, mi, 
mo, mu; ni, no, ke, ki, kiu. The Japanese pronunciation 
is excessively difficult to Europeans; there are syllables 
which are not pronounced, such as te or de, but uttered 
by a sort of semi-articulation which we were quite unable 
to acquire. I do not believe any European would succeed 
in pronouncing the Japanese word for fire; I have tried 
for the space of two years, but in vain. When pro- 
nounced by the Japanese, it seemed to sound like/, chi, 
psiffsi, pronounced through the teeth; but in whatever 
manner we turned and twisted our tongues, the Japanese 
repeated '^ Not right.^^ Words similarly difficult of pro- 
nunciation are numerous in the Japanese language.* 

The Japanese having prohibited us from learning to 

it in small quantities from the Dutch. They only wash their linen in hot 
water ; sometimes also with a lime, which has the property of making 
a lather. They have, prohahly, taken the word for soap from the 

* The Japanese write in perpendicular lines, and in characters not 
remarkable for regularity. The genius of their language also requires that 
their characters, many of which are words, should be sometimes trans- 
posed, sometimes joined to others, or to particles invented for this express 
purpose — a custom so necessary, says Charlevoix, that whenever they 
print Chinese books in Japan, they are obliged to add these words or 
particles, to enable the people to read and to understand them. The 
principle on which the language is written, is nearly similar to that of the 
Chinese, the characters having the ideas attached to their figure, previous 
to any sound being given to them. Thus, ideas are expressed, inde- 


write their language, we had no opportunity of making 
ourselves acquainted with their grammar; but to judge 
of it by what we learned, it cannot be very difl&cult, as 
the substantives and verbs undergo but few changes. 
The declensions are formed by particles annexed to the 
verbs. The verbs have no change for person, number, 
or mood, but only for tenses, of which they have three ; 
the others are expressed by words, such as, long since, 
soon, &c. The prepositions follow the substantives to 
which they refer; the conjunctions too, in certain cases, 
follow the sentences which they connect together. In 
almost all known languages the personal pronouns are 
monosyllables, but in the Japanese they are very long ; 
for example, wataposi, I ; watagost-tono, we ; kono, he ; 
konO'daZy she. 

In learning the Japanese language there is another 
difficulty to be overcome besides reading and pronouncing 
it. This difficulty consists in the prodigious number of 
words. Many things and actions have two names ; one 
is used when speaking to superiors or equals ; the other, 
only when addressing common people and in ordinary- 
conversation. It may, therefore, almost be said, that the 
Japanese have two languages, a peculiarity which, as far 
as I know, is not to be found among any other people in 
the world. 

pendent of sounds. Memory is put to the test, but ambiguity is sup- 
posed to be avoided. 



RdigioD aod religious customs — Mythological superstition — Brahminical 
doctrines — Atheistical ideas — Popular superstition — Forms of worship 
— Religions mendicants — Punishment of ecclesiastics-^ Monks and 

The prevailing religion of Japan is derived from India, 
as the Japanese themselves admit, and is a branch of 
the religion of the Brahmins; but millions, perhaps the 
greater part of the people, follow other religious doctrines, 
which cannot properly be called sects, as they are not 
branches of the prevailing religion, and have quite another 
origin. The Japanese with whom we conversed on the 
articles of their behef, did not agree respecting the 
number of diflferent forms of religion among them. Some 
said there were seven; and others affirmed that there 
were only four ; three of the seven being merely sects, 
formed from the four pincipal religions. 

These four religions are : 

1. The most ancient religion in Japan, which is fol- 
lowed by the aboriginal inhabitants of the empire. 
Though now much corrupted, and no longer the pre- 


vailing religion of the people, yet it claims priority of 
notice on account of its antiquity. The adherents of this 
religion believe they have a preference before the rest, 
because they adore the ancient pecuhar divinities called 
Kami; that is, the immortal spirits, or children of the 
highest being, who are very numerous. They also adore 
and pray to saints, who have distinguished themselves by 
a Ufe agreeable to heaven through uncommon piety and 
religious zeal. They build temples to these saints, who 
are called Chadotschi. It would appear, however, that 
they have not all obtained this honour by their virtuous 
life and their piety ; some among them, as the Japanese 
themselves assured us, obtained their reputation of sanc- 
tity by the intrigues, of the clergy for their own advantage. 
The spiritual emperor is the head and the high priest of 
this religion; he is the judge of men upon earth, and 
names those who are to be received among the number of 
the saints. 

Personal cleanliness is one of the chief and indispen- 
sable rules of this religion, the followers of which are 
not permitted to kill or to eat animals employed for work, 
or in domestic services. Thus, they must not eat beef, 
but they eat poultry, deer, hares, and even bears : they 
are also permitted to feed upon fish, and all kinds of 
marine animals. They must avoid staining themselves 
with blood, as this may defile them for a certain time- 
Touching a corpse, nay, entering a house in which there 
is a dead person, defiles them for a number of days, more 
or less, according to circumstances ; they therefore take 
all possible precautions to avoid defiling themselves in any 
of these ways. 

This religion has a sect who eat no land animal, but 
only sea animals and fish : to this sect some of our guards 


belonged. Several of them often ate deer and bears' 
flesh with us ; others, on the contrary, upon the days when 
meat was set before us, would not even light their pipes 
at the same fire with us. At other times they would 
smoke out of our pipes, gave us theirs, nay, even drank 
their tea out of the cups which we had used. At first, I 
believed that they were adherents of difiFerent religions, 
but learned afterwards that the difierence merely con- 
sisted in some particular rules adopted by the sect, the 
principal of which is, prohibition to eat the flesh of any 
land animal. 

2. The religion derived from the Brahmins, transplanted 
from India to Japan. In Japan it also teaches the trans- 
migration of souls, or that the souls of men and animals 
are identical in their kind, and that they animate some- 
times the bodies of men and sometimes those of animals. 
The followers of this religion are therefore forbidden to 
kill any thing that has life. Theft, adultery, falsehood, 
and drunkenness, are also strictly forbidden. These com- 
mandments are truly good, but all the other rules in 
respect to abstinence and way of life, which the adherents 
of this faith must observe, are so absurd, and difficult, 
that there are probably few who are pious, and at the 
tame time strong enough to go through one half of what 
this religion enjoins. On this account there are more 
bad people, as well among the clergy as among the 
laymen, in this religion, than in any other in Japan. 

3. The religion of the Chinese, as it is called in Japan, 
or the doctrine of Confucius, which is highly esteemed by 
the Japanese. The greater part of the Japanese men of 
learning and philosophers follow this doctrine. 

4. The adoration of the heavenly bodies. In this 
worship, the sun is considered the highest divinity ; next 


follow the moon and stars. Almost every constellation 
forms a separate divinity. These divinities are sometimes 
supposed to be adverse to each other, and sometimes at 
peace ; now forming alliances by marriage, and now seeking 
to outwit and to injure each other ; in short, they have 
all human weaknesses, and live like men, only with the 
difference that they are immortal, and assume any shape 
they please. This reUgion gave origin to a sect who worship 
fire, and consider it as divinity derived from the sun. 

The above particulars relating to the four religions of 
Japan, we learned from the Japanese themselves. I must, 
however, observe, that when our conversation turned on 
religious subjects, they answered our questions very un- 
willingly, and often pretended not to understand us, or 
gave quite unsatisfactory and utiintelligble answers. 
Sometimes they did not answer us at all, but began to 
question us respecting our faith. As they would not 
permit us to learn to read and write, we had no means of 
penetrating more deeply into the knowledge of their 
creeds. Their religions, indeed, present such a combination 
of rational and absurd rules, or false and ridiculous tra- 
ditions, ceremonies, &c., that the two years of our captivity 
would scarcely have sufficed to learn and describe all, 
even if we had been well versed in the language, and 
could have profited by the acquaintance and frankness of 
the inhabitants. 

There are Free-thinkers among the Japanese, as among 
us, and perhaps they are as numerous. I have not heard 
that there were Deists among them, but there are 
Atheists and Sceptics. These deny the existence of a 
Supreme Being, ascribe the creation and government of 
the world all to chance, and doubt of everything. Our 
friend Teske was of this latter class : he frequently con- 


versed with us respecting his opiuions. According to his 
notion^ man knows only what has happened to him, the 
past and the present ; the future, both in this world, and 
after death, is eternally hidden from him ; therefore, the 
doctrine of all rehgions on this subject is liable to the 
greatest doubts, and deserves no credit. Arguing on this 
ground, he aflSrmed, that man must not omit any oppor- 
tunity in his life of enjoying whatever can afford him 
enjoyment ; for it is highly probable that death puts an 
end to everything, and that man lives but once. Be- 
sides, in the enjoyment of all possible pleasures, we must 
endeavour to procure them to others, not out of fear of 
punishment after death, but that others may also endeavour 
to make our lives agreeable. In this manner, observed 
Teske, men must endeavour to afford each other every 
pleasure suitable to the taste and inchnations^ of each, of 
whatever kind they may be. But as it is not to be ex- 
pected, that a whole nation should become philosophers, 
and comprehend this truth, and as the majority would 
probably make use of this doctrine only to the injury of 
others, it is absolutely necessary to deceive the common 
people, and convince them that there is a superior power 
which sees our most secret actions, and to which we must 
(me day give a strict account of all the evil done to our 
fellow-creatures. In a word, he considered every religion 
-as a fraud, necessary for the good of the people. We 
made our objections to such principles, but as Teske un- 
derstood very little Russian, and we as little Japanese, 
our arguments entirely failed of producing any effect. 

Curiosity induced me to ask whether it was allowed 
in Japan to speak freely and unreservedly on such 
subjects ? " There is no law to forbid it,'' said Teske ; 


" but the hatred of the ecclesiastics falls upon him 
who rejects or ridicules their doctrines. Besides, they 
may accuse any one who seeks to turn people from the 
faith which they profess. If the accused be convicted, 
the government condemns him to imprisonment for a 
certain time. But if anybody preach the Christian, or any 
other foreign religion, he must die a cruel death.^^ 

Teske and many other Japanese spoke very unfavourably 
of their priests. " The servants of our temples,^^ said 
they, " are, for the most part, licentious men, and though 
the laws command them to live temperately, to eat neither 
liieat nor fish, to drink no wine, and have no wives: yet, in 
spite of these prohibitions, they live very intemperately, 
seduce women, and commit other enormities." 

The laws do not subject any one to punishment for 
the non-observance and violation of the precepts of religion, 
even the priests do not concern themselves about it. We 
knew several Japanese who made it a boast that they never 
visited a temple, and who ridiculed the religious customs. 

The number of free-thinking Japanese is however very 
small, in proportion to the whole nation. The people are, 
in general, not only extremely bigoted, but very supersti- 
tious. They believe in sorcery, and love to converse on 
miraculous stories.* They ascribe to the fox all the 
properties and mischievous tricks which the common 

* Some of the popular superstitions detailed by Koempfer and other 
writers, are curious. The people, in general, put great faith in amulets of 
all kinds. To keep off all distempers and misfortunes from their families, 
they place a monstrous picture over their doors of a human figure covered 
with hair, with a sword in each hand ; also dragons' and devils' heads, 
with large mouths wide open, huge teeth, and fiery eyes. In some cases 
the branch of a sacred tree is hung at the door, or long slips of paper, 
with necromantic characters, supplied by the priests. 


people in Europe atti'ibute to Satan. According to 
Russian superstition, thunder kills with a stone arrow; 
in Japan it is a cat which is hurled down by the lightning. 
In Russia, when you praise any one, you must spit three 
times, lest he should fall sick ; and if you hand any one salt 
at table, you must smile, to avoid quarrelling afterwards, 
&c. In Japan, nobody goes over a new bridge, for fear of 
dying, till the oldest man in the district, in which the 
bridge is situated, has been conducted over it. Among 
us, the ends of wax-tapers, which are left at the 
morning mass, on Sunday, are a protection against light- 
ning ; among the Japanese, peas, roasted in a pan, which 
they eat at a great winter festival, and of which they 
preserve a part for the summer, possess the same virtue. 
They affirm that, if, during a thunder-storm, some of 
these wonder-working peas are thrown against the walls 
of a house, the lightning cannot enter, and consequently 
everything in that house is perfectly safe. 

In country places, every mountain, every hill, every 
cliff, is consecrated to some divinity ; and in these sacred 
places travellers have to repeat prayers, and frequently to 
say the same prayers^ several times over. But, as the 
strict fulfilment of this duty would detain a pious traveller 
very long on his journey, the Japanese have devised a plan 
for obviating the inconvenience. On spots consecrated to 
divinities they set up posts, in case there are none already 
Ihete, to mark the distances. In these posts there are 
long vertical openings, about an arsheen and a half above 
the ground, and within the openings flat round iron plates 
turn like sheaves in a block. On each of these plates 
is engraved a prayer, dedicated to the divinity of the 
place; and to turn the plate round is equivalent to 


uttering the prayer, which is supposed to be repeated 
as many times as, the iron plate turns round. In this 
manner the traveller is able, without stopping, and merely 
by turning the plate with his fingers, to send up even 
more prayers to the divinity than he is required to do. 

I am not able to describe firom my own observation any 
of the religious ceremonies of the Japanese, because they 
never could be induced to allow us to enter their temples 
during divine service; nor did they even speak of it. 
The ^little I know of it, and which I learned from our 
interpreters and others, is as follows. The prayers are 
repeated ^hree times in the day — at daybreak, two hours 
before noon, and before sunset. The people are informed 
of the hours of prayer by the ringing of a bell. The mode 
in which the ringing is performed is curious. After the 
first stroke of the bell half a minute elapses, then comes 
the second stroke, the third succeeds rather quicker, the 
fourth quicker still, then follow several strokes in very rapid 
succession. After the lapse of two minutes, all is repeated 
over again in the same order. In two minutes more the 
ringing is performed for the third time, and then it 
ends. In front of the temples there are basins made 
of stone or metal, containing water, in which the Japanese 
wash their hands before they enter. Before the images of 
the saint, lamps or candles are kept burning; they are 
made of train oil, and the bituminous juice of a tree, 
which grows in the southern and middle parts of Niphon. 
The Japanese ofier to the Gods natural or artificial flowers. 
The latter are made of coloured ribbons, or of paper. 
These flowers are hung before the images of saints, on 
the walls of the temples, and sometimes on the images 
themselves. Those who are very zealous in their devotions 


oflFer money, fruits, rice, and other gifts, which are very 
welcome to the servants of the temples. But these volun- 
tary donations are not deemed sufficient, and the servants 
of the temples wander about the towns, villages, and high- 
ways, demanding offerings for their Gods, and carrying 
sacks upon their shoulders, to contain the gifts they 
receive. They also sing hymns, deliver addresses, or ring 
a little bell, which every one has fastened to his girdle. 
In our walks about Matsmai, we often met them. During 
divine service the Japanese kneel with their heads bowed 
down, and their hands folded. When they repeat their 
prayers, they press their hands together, raise them so 
to their foreheads, incline their bodies several times, and 
pray in an under tone. 

The difference of religions and sects in Japan, does not 
cause the smallest embarrassment either to the government 
or to private persons. Every citizen has a right to profess 
what faith he pleases, and to change it as often as he 
thinks fit. No one cares whether he does so from con- 
viction, or from regard to interest. It frequently happens 
that the members of one family follow different sects ; 
yet this difference of faith never occasions ill-will or 
disputes. The making of proselytes is also prohibited by 
the laws. 

The spiritual emperor, or Kin-Rey, is the head of the 
ancient Japanese religion ; but all the other sects cherish 
a pious adoration for him. He not only confers the 
highest ecclesiastical dignities, but he also bestows, on the 
'superior officers of state, the dignity, or spiritual title of 
Kami, which the greatest men in the empire think it the 
highest honour to obtain. The Kin-Rey is invisible to 
all classes of the people, except to the individuals of his own 

VOL. II. * I 


household, and the officers of the temperal emperor who are 
often sent to him. Once a year only, on the occasion of 
a great festival, he walks in a gallery, which is open below, 
so that everybody can approach and see his feet. He 
always wears silk garments, which, from the very first 
preparation of the silk, are manufactured by the hands of 
virgins. Each of his meals is brought to him in new 
vessels, which afterwards are broken. This, say the 
Japanese, is done, because nobody is worthy to eat out of 
the same vessel after him : if any one should happen to 
do so, either knowingly or by mistake, he is immediately 
put to death. 

The Japanese priesthood is divided into several classes ; 
and they have high priests.* One of these lived in 
Matsmai; he had a large house with a garden, which 
was surrounded by a rampart of earth, so that it had the 
appearance of a little fortress : this proves that the dignity 
is held in high honour. The Japanese told us, that his 
power over the priests extends only to religious afiFairs. 
If a priest commits a criminal offence, or is entangled in 
temporal affairs, he is tried and sentenced according to 
the laws, without any reference to the religious authority. 
During our residence at Matsmai, the governor caused a 
priest to be imprisoned for theft ; he was condemned by 
the temporal judges,' and executed. We told the Ja- 
panese that this was not the way in which we proceeded 
with our clergy in similar cases, but that we first degraded 
them from the ecclesiastical rank to which the church had 

* It is said, that all the guardians of the temples of the ancient' 
religion are laymen, many of whom marry, and live with their families 
in the vicinity of those holy edifices, wearing their sacerdotal habits only 
when engaged in their ceremonies. 


consecrated them^ and then delivered them to the temporal 
judge. They laughed at this, and said that the priest in 
question was a villain, who was not worthy to have his 
head upon his shoulders : the tribunals and the laws of 
his country had therefore condemned him, and so he lost 
his rank and his head at once, whether the religious 
government approved of it or not. The high priest of 
Matsmai never waited on the governor, but was obliged 
to receive him once a-year, in spring. This reception 
took place on a little island near Matsmai, in a temple 
dedicated to seven holy virgins. 

There are also monks and nuns in Japan, but we could 
not learn on what footing the convents rest, or what are 
the rules of the orders. We heard only that the monks 
and nuns ought, according to their professions, to lead a 
very austere life. They, however, did not do so, but 
avowed their preference of the enjoyments of this life to 
the uncertain promises of the future. 

1 2 



Government of the empire — Temporal and spiritual emperors — The 
imperial succession — Promulgation of laws — Executive government — 
Public functionaries — Police — Navigation — Trade — Civil and criminal 
justice — Military affairs. 

Japan has two sovereigns, styled by Europeans the 
emperors spiritual and temporal : I follow this designa- 
tion, though without admitting their correctness. As 
regards the temporal emperor, he ought to be called the 
Emperor of Japan, for he is the sovereign of an empire, 
not, indeed, very great in extent, but very populous, and 
consisting of many independent principalities united under 
one sceptre. The dignity of the spiritual emperor has 
nowhere any parallel, and is peculiar to Japan ; we cannot, 
therefore, distinguish it by the title of emperor, accorcUng 
to the ideas we attach to that term. In the ordinary 
affairs of state, the Kin-Rey, or spiritual emperor, has no 
share, and learns only occasionally by report what happens 
in the empire; but in cases of extraordinary import- 
ance, the temporal emperor must consult him; for 
example, on the change or introduction of a law on nego- 
ciations with foreign powers, declaration of war, &c. But 


even on these occasions, the temporal emperor takes his 
measures betimes, and knows beforehand that the Kin- 
Rey will approve of his proposals. In short, the temporal 
emperors of Japan now proceed with the spiritual, as the 
more unprejudiced or powerful of the Catholic sovereigns 
formerly did with the popes, to whom, (after they had 
been wrought upon by threats or presents,) ambassadors 
were sent with feigned submission and humility, to im- 
plore the blessing of the holy father, and a bull: two 
things necessary for blinding the superstitious people. 
The temporal emperors, however, show externally the 
greatest respect to the spiritual. Personal interviews 
take place very rarely : the temporal emperor visits the 
spiritual sovereign only once in seven years, but they 
frequently send embassies to each other, on which occa- 
sions the temporal emperor always sends rich presents, 
which are acknowledged by blessings. Thi& is, indeed, 
no more than equitable; for the temporal emperor has 
the revenues of the whok empire in his hands, whereas 
the spiritual emperor must be content with the revenues 
of his principality of Kioto. He governs this province as 
an independent prince (or Damjo, to use the Japanese 
term), only with this difference, that the princes maintain 
their military at their own expense ; but the Kin-Rey has 
no soldiers. The force required for the internal tranquil- 
Kty of the spiritual emperor's principality is maintained 
at the expense of the temporal emperor, on whom it de- 
pends; this measure gives the latter entire power over the 
spiritual emperor, a conclusion to which we should not be 
led by outward appearance. The two emperors observe, 
with the greatest exactness, the etiquette that prevails 
between them: thus, for example, the Kin-Rey always 
keeps some person, whom he nominates himself, at the 


court of the temporal emperor, to watch over his con- 
duct, and to remind him of his duties in case he should 
neglect them. Among these persons there are some 
ladies who superintend the conjugal aflFairs of the monarch 
and his consort, but this superintendence does not hinder 
his Japanese Majesty from keeping several concubines. 

Among the marks of respect shewn by the temporal to 
the spiritual emperors, one is particularly remarkable. 
At the commencement of the new year, the temporal 
emperor is bound to send his spiritual brother an em- 
bassy, with presents. Among these presents there must 
be a white crane with a black head, which the Emperor 
himself has caught in hunting;* no engagement can 
exempt the monarch from his obligation, only sickness 
excuses him ; but in that case, the heir to the throne, 
must perform the duty prescribed. Near the capital, 
Yeddo, there is an extensive valley, surrounded by moun- 
tains, and intersected by lakes and rivulets, in which 
nobody, except the Emperor and his successor, dare catch 
or kill birds under a severe penalty ; the birds are there- 
fore seldom disturbed in this valley, and it is, conse^ 
quently, not difficult to catch a considerable number (rf 
them in a very short time. 

In some respects the Japanese spiritual emperors might 
be compared with the popes, as those potentates formerly 
were, but in other respects the compariscm will not at all 
hold good. The popes were elected ; but the house of the 
Kin-Beys is hereditary. They are allowed to have twelve 
wives, that their race may not become extinct. The popes 
govern in their dominions as independent sovereigns ; but 

* The Japanese are very fond of hunting with falcons and hawks, in 
which they are skilful. They told us miraculous things of their hunts- 
men, who train these birds to a high degree of perfection. 


the state of the Kin-Reys makes a constituent part of 
Japan^ and is subject to the laws of the empire as well as 
the other principalities. Lastly, the popes were the heads 
of the predominant religion, or rather of the only one 
that was tolerated in all Catholic countries ; on the other 
hand, the Kin-Eey is the head of a religion, which is 
professed by only a part of the Japanese nation, though his 
power extends over the priests of all the sects in Japan. 

During our imprisonment, we were occasionally given 
to understand how little influence the spiritual emperor 
has in the affairs of government. We often evinced o.ur 
chagrin at the tardiness with which our affair proceeded, 
and expressed our fears that even though the council, and 
the temporal emperor should resolve to set us at liberty, 
perhaps the spiritual emperor would not approve of their 
resolution; and it was quite uncertain when the affair 
would come to an end. To these complaints the Japanese 
generally answered: "You need not concern yourself 
about the decision of the Kin-Rey ; if only the Kumbo- 
Sama (temporal emperor) resolves to let you go, the Kin- 
Rey will not overrule the resolution, because he does every 
thing that the other wishes.'* They also assured us, 
that the spiritual emperors were by no means of so much 
importance as formerly, and that their power was more 
fictitious than real. 

When we were in Japan in the year 1813, we were told 
that the present dynasty of the Kin-Reys had governed, 
in a direct line two thousand four hundred and thirteen 
years: their regime therefore commenced six hundred 
years before the birth of Christ. Japanese history records 
the names and the years of accession of all the emperors 
in the course of the twejaty-four centuries; their num- 
ber is about one hundred and thirty. In the first twenty 


centuries the Kin-Reys, or as the Japanese sometimes 

call them, Dairi or Jajosso, were in possession of undivided 

power. They were sovereigns in the fullest sense of the 

expression : but in the sequel, some military chiefs took 

advantage of the troubles in the empire, and began, partly 

by secret intrigue, and partly by open attacks, to set 

bounds to the despotic power of these sovereigns. They 

succeeded, and about two hundred and thirty years ago, a 

general, named Kumbo, usurped the administration of 

temporal affairs, and made it hereditary in his family. He 

left to the Kin-Rey only the administration of the spiritual 

affairs of all the sects in the empire, and the right to give 

his advice and his assent in important and unusual cases. 

The present temporal emperors are descended from this 

general ; they are called by the Japanese Kumbo-Sama, 

i. e. " Ruler Kumbo.^' The division of the government 

between two emperors is therefore of little more than two 

hundred years standing.* 

The dignity of both the emperors is inherited by the 
eldest of their male descendants. In ancient times, in 
default of male heirs in the dynasty of the spiritual 
emperors, their widows and daughters ascend the throne ; 
but now, in default of male descendants, both emperors 
must adopt sons from princely families related to them. 

The Japanese empire comprises many principalities 
(which are governed by the Damjos, or reigning princes), 
and of the provinces belonging to the Emperor himself. 
The administration of these provinces is entrusted to 

* Some Japanese, vbo were less reserved to us than others, did not 
speak very much in honour of their present government. As one of its 
principal faults they mentioned, that the emperor troubled himself little 
about business, and would not examine anything with his own eyes ; but 
that the princes had usurped too great au authority over their subjects. 


governors. The number of reigning princes in Japan is 
more than two hundred. The possessions of most of them 
are but small^ but some of them are extremely powerful : 
thus, for example, the Damjo of Sindai, when he comes 
to the capital, has a court and attendants amounting to 
sixty thousand persons. These princes govern their pos- 
sessions as independent sovereigns : they have even the 
light to create new laws, but those laws apply only to 
their own dominions and do not apply to other parts of the 
empire ; no ordinance can be put into execution without 
superior authority. Every Damjo is bound to keep a 
certain number of troops, which are at the disposal of 
the temporal emperor.* 

The provinces which belong to the emperors are con- 
fided to governors (obunjos), and are occupied for their 
protection by soldiers from the neighbouring principa- 
lities. These soldiers are relieved every year. 

The supreme council of the temporal emperor consists 
of five members, who must be reigning princes. This 
council decides all cases which occur in the usual course 
of events, without applying for the approbation of the 
Emperor ; on the other hand, in uncommon cases, though 

* The general laws of the empire are very few in number; but the 
princes and lords have officers appointed in every city to regulate the police, 
and direct public affairs. They exercise their power definitively, without 
any appeal to a superior court. The emperor's proclamations are always 
very concise. No reasons are ever assigned for the adoption of any 
measure, it being thought sufficient that the emperor himself should know 
the principle on which he founds his edicts. The mode by which public 
ordinances ard promulgated, is singular. In every city, and in almost 
ef«ry viUage, there is a place shut up vrith gratings, from whence all the 
orders and edicts of the emperor are published. In each district the 
principal noble, or the governor of the province, notifies them in his own 
name; and for the convenience of the people, each proclamation is 
written in good legible characters, upon a board fastened to a post. 


of little importance, nothing can be done without the 
Emperor; but in such cases the Emperor has not the 
right to decide without the approbation of the council. 
In this respect, the Japanese Government must be called 
a limited monarchy; but the Emperor has the power of 
changing the members of the supreme council at his 
pleasure. The Japanese emperors do not, however, ven- 
ture to abuse this power, lest the princes should resist 
and revolt. How formidable the latter are to the em- 
perors is evident from the precaution of obliging the 
wives and children of the princes always to reside in the 
capital, and the princes themselves alternately one year 
in the metropolis and the other in their dominions. The 
supreme council is called Grorodschi; the names of its 
members stand first in the Japanese court calendar, which is 
pubhshed yearly, and contains the names of the civil officers. 

Besides this supreme council, there is another in Japan 
which may be called the senate, for it decides important 
criminal and civil causes. Cases of great importance 
are examined and decided in the senate, before they 
come before the supreme council. The senate consists 
of fifteen members, who may either be princes or nobles 

These two branches of the government form the higher 
legislative authority, but they are subject to the in- 
direct influence of the courtiers of the Emperor, whom 
the Japanese call Osobo-Kaschra. Among them the 
Emperor always has his favourites and confidants, whom 
he privately consults before he gives his decision upon 
any afiair which the supreme council submits to him. 

* The Chadamodos, who are the class of subjects next to the reining 
princes, enjoy very important priTileges. 


In Japan^ the business of goverament is divided into 
seven parts or sections, each of which, according to its 
importance and extent, is consigned to two or three 
ministers. These ministers are, like the governors, called 
Obunjos or Bunjos, only to that title is added the name 
of the section ; for example — Gogandschio-Bmijo, Bunjo 
of Commercial AflEairs ; Madzino-Bunjo, Bunjo of Police, 
&€.* When the word bunjo means simply a governor, 
the name of the province governed is added to the title ; 
as for example, Nangasaky-Bunjo, &c. Counsellors 
(Ginmijagu), and some other officers, are appointed as 
assistants to the ministers. 

The several sections of the government are : 


As the taxes in Japan are generally paid in tithes 
of the productions in kind, agriculture, manufactures, &c. 
are under the superintendence of the department that 
administers the public revenue. 


I here mean the inland trade, because the foreign is 
very inconsiderable, and is carried on solely for the 
advantage of the Emperor. The inland trade of Japan 
b very extensive, and is carried on chiefly by sea, as the 
nature of the country greatly facilitates maritime con- 
veyance from one province to another. From the in- 
terior of the country to the sea-ports, and from those 

* The word " bunjo" therefore signifies not only the dignity of a 
governor, but also of a minister and head of any important branch of 


ports to the interior, goods are mostly transported by 
rivers and canals : where that mode of communication 
is impeded by mountains, pack-horses and oxen are 
employed. The various climates prevailing in the Ja- 
panese possessions create a great diversity of productions, 
and an extensive traffic in them; consequently many 
large vessels, with numerous crews, are employed in the 
home trade. 


This section superintends all public buildings through- 
out the empire, including temples and fortresses. 


This department of the Japanese Government is very 
important, because the suspicion of the Emperor, and 
his distrust of the reigning princes, obliges him to keep 
them under strict supervision, as well publicly as secretly, 
by means of spies. For this reason, the highest indi- 
viduals in the empire, those who enjoy the utmost respect 
and confidence of both the Emperor and the people, 
are always at the head of the administration of the 


In every principality, criminal or civil causes are 
decided according to the existing laws ; but if they have 
reference to any other part of the empire, or are mixed up 
with the affairs of the state, they must be discussed and 
decided in this section. It is also the highest tribunal 
for cases of appeal and important criminal causes from 


the imperial provinces, in ease they are of such a nature 
that the power of the governor cannot decide them. 


It has the superintendence of all the imperial arsenals, 
foundries, arid manufactories of arms. It requires the 
princes to maintain the fixed number of troops in their 
possessions in due order, and that the troops do not leave 
their garrisons. It is also the business of this section 
to see that the empire is kept in a state of defence. 


I have already mentioned that the Kin-Rey has the 
uncontrolled superintendence of religious affairs, but his 
dispositions must not in the least infringe upon the power 
of the temporal emperor. In case this should happen, 
the latter employs the means which his power affords 
him to check his co-sovereign, for whose divine authority 
he has not the most profound respect. 



Laws and manners— Privileges of nobility — Military regulations — Social 
gradations — Middle and lower ranks-^Domestic slavery — Legal insti- 
tutions — Law-suits — Marriage ceremony — Female constancy in the 
married state — Restrictive policy— Japanese love of gardening — Court 
costume — Female attire — Dress of the men — Food-*Temperance — 
Equipages — Mode of riding — Music, singing, and dancing — Theatrical 

The inhabitants of Japan are divided into eight 
classes : — 

1. Damjos, or reigning princes. 

2. Chadamodos, or nobles. 

3. Bonzes, or priests. 

4. Soldiers. 

5. Merchants. 

6. Mechanics. 

7. Peasants and labourers. 

8. Slaves. 

First class. — The reigning princes do not all enjoy 
the same rights and privileges. Their power is greater 
or less, according to conventions and agreements. These 


privileges refer, not only to matters of importance, but 
they even extend to the most insignificant points of 
etiquette and ceremony. Some princes, for instance, 
have the right to use saddle-cloths of beaver-skin when 
they ride on horseback; others have them of panther- 
skins, &c. But the greatest privilege of all consists in 
their governing their principalities as independent 
sovereigns, as far as the general laws of the empire 
allow, and is consistent with the welfare of the other 
parts of the empire. 

The dignity of all the reigning princes is hereditary, 
and properly descends pnly to the eldest son; but a 
laudable ambition in the princes to have none but 
worthy successors, frequently causes them to break 
through this rule. Should the eldest son be disqualified 
from succeeding his father, the succession devolves on the 
second son. It not unfrequently happens that a prince is 
induced, by the incapacity of all his children, to deprive 
them of the succession, and to adopt the most worthy of the 
younger sons of another prince, whom he educates under 
his own eye, and leaves him his title and his possessions. 
The consequence of this practice is, that the reigning 
princes in Japan, are almost always sensible men, well 
versed in public affairs : hence, too, they are so formidable 
to the emperors, whose power they can always restrain 
within due bounds. 

Second class. — The nobility, also, enjoy very impor- 
tant privileges in Japan. All the places in the second 
council or senate, all the important offices of state, and 
the posts of governors in the imperial provinces, are 
filled up entirely from the nobility. If a war breaks out, 
the commanding generals are chosen from among the 


reigning princes or the nobles. Every noble family has 
a particular distinction, and the right to keep a train of 
honour, which is made use of by the eldest of the family. 
The nobility is also hereditary, and descends to the eldest 
son, or, according to the will of the father, to the most 
worthy. If the father deems his own sons unworthy of 
this dignity, he may adopt a son from another family ; 
hence, a worthless nobleman is a rare phenomenon, which 
only the too great l^ve of a father for an undeserving 
son can render possible. 

Third class. — The ecclesiastics, who consist of priests 
and monks are very numerous in Japan, and are divided 
into several classes, having their particular privileges in 
the different sects. 

Fourth class. — In the class of soldiers, the higher 
military officers must not be included, because in Japan 
they are chosen from the nobility, or from some other 
class, and they are all men who have already filled public 
offices in the civil departments. Every body who is in the 
service of the emperor or the princes must learn the art of 
war, that he may be able,xin case of need, to be employed 
against the enemy. As the Japanese consider war merely 
a temporary affair, they do not dedicate their whole lives 
to military service. Besides, the situation of the empire, 
and the pacific policy of the government, often make 
it impossible for a series of generations, (as from 
grandfather to great-grandson,) to serve in the army. 
Every Japanese of distinction, therefore, endeavours to 
obtain a civil appointment, and also makes himself 
acquainted with the art of war, so that if required, he 
may be able to command flbe troops which are in garrison 
in the fortresses, or distributed in other places, for the 


purpose of maintaining order and tranquillity among the 

The posts of inferior military oflScers and privates are 
hereditary, and, therefore, they form a distinct class. No 
soldier, however old, obtains his discharge till he can 
bring a i^n to supply his place ; and the son must have 
thoroughly learned everything belonging to the service. 
Boys are capable of bearing arms at the age of fifteen. If 
a soldier has more than one son, he is at liberty to devote 
them all, or only one, to the military profession ; but, as 
in Japan, the service is easy, and the pay and rations 
good ; soldiers in general let all their sons enter the army, 
in which they themselves serve to the end of their lives. 
Should a soldier have no son, he may adopt one, and 
tmn him to supply his place. The laws allow both 
soldiers and other classes of men to adopt three children, 
but if these die, no more can be adopted, as it is presumed 
to be against the will of the gods. 

The military profession is held in great honour in 
Japan. The common people, and even the merchants, 
address soldiers by the title of Soma, which is equivalent 
to ' My Lord,^ and show them all possible respect : 
Europeans who have visited Japan, have frequently 
mistaken common soldiers for persons invested with 
Ugh offices. This is very natural, because, when 
fettopean ships arrive, the soldiers generally put on 
ralken dresses, embroidered with gold and silver. They 
deceive Europeans proudly, and remain sitting and 
aoaoking tobacco while they speak with them. At the 
beginning of our captivity we fell into the same error : 
we believed that the Japanese feared us greatly, since 
they appointed oflBicers to guard us. But when we 

VOL. II. , K 


became better acquainted with these supposed officers, we 
found that they were merely private soldiers in the service 
of the Prince of Nambu. 

All soldiers, privates as well as officers, are entitled to 
wear a sabre and dagger, like the chief official personages of 
the empire. In almost every village there are two or three 
soldiers, whose duty it is to preserve order, and to keep a 
watchful eye on the police officers. To cashier a soldier, 
or " Dossin,^^ as he is called, is the greatest punishment 
that can be inflicted on him. The oldest soldier, or 
subaltern officer, who was on guard over us when we 
escaped^ was degraded, but was afterwards allowed to 
return to the army in the rank of a common soldier : 
during this time he suffered his hair, beard, and nails to 
grow, and shewed in this manner his profound affliction. 
Japanese soldiers have a keen sense of honour. 

Fifth Class. — ^The mercantile class in Japan, are very 
extensive and wealthy, but not held in high honour. 
Merchants are not privileged to bear arms ; but though 
their profession is not respected, their wealth is ; for in 
Japan, as in Europe, riches supply the want of talents and 
dignity, and attain privileges and honourable appoint- 
ments. The Japanese told us, that their officers of state 
and men of rank behave outwardly with great haughti- 
ness to merchants, but, in private, are very familiar with 
the wealthy of that class, and are often under great 
obhgations to them. We had with us, for some time, 
a young officer, who was the son of a rich merchant, and 
who, as the Japanese said, owed his rank not to his own 
merit, but to his father^s gold : thus, though the laws do 
not favour the mercantile profession, yet its wealth raises 
it ; for even in Japan, where the laws are so rigorously 


enforced, they are often outweighed by the influence of 

Sixth Glass. — The Japanese do not comprehend the 
difference between mechanics and artists ; therefore, the 
architect and the carpenter, the sculptor and the brazier, 
&c., belong, according to their notions, to one class : their 
rights and privileges are almost the same as those of the 
merchants, with the exception of those advantages which 
the latter acquire by their riches. 

Seventh Class. — Peasants and labourers are the last 
class of the free inhabitants of Japan. In this class are 
included all persons who go into the service of others to 
gain their livelihood; for Japan is so populous, that a 
man who possesses the smallest piece of land does not 
cultivate it himself, but hires indigent labourers to do it 
for him. We had among our guards soldiers who pos- 
sessed gardens, and paid labourers to cultivate them. 
They themselves employed their leisure hours in hunting, 
and sold the game they caught. In this seventh class is 
included sailors, whom the Japanese call Fakscho-Sschto, 
viz. : labourers. The lower classes in general are denomi- 
nated by them Madsino-Sschto, which being literally 
translated, signifies people who carry on their business in 
the streets. 

Eighth Class. — The lowest class of the inhabitants 
of Japan are slaves. They are descended from the prisoners 
talcen in ancient times in China, Corea, &c., and from 
children who have been sold by their parents as slaves, 
from poverty and inability to bring them up. This trade 
in children is still carried on ; but the law for making pri- 
soners slaves has been abolished since the time when the 
Christian religion was extirpated. Prisoners are kept in 

K 2 . 


confinement for life, a measure prescribed by one of the 
most ancient laws. They are thereby prevented &om 
communicating their religion or their manners to the 
people. Slaves are entirely in the power of their 

I could not learn from our Japanese friends to what 
class the civil officers (who are nobles), physicians, and the 
younger children of the nobles belong. We were in- 
formed that these persons are respected in the state, 
have titles suitable to their rank, but that they form no 
particular class. Learned men and physicians wear sabres 
and daggers, like all official persons. But we could not 
learn whether they possess a civil rank or any dignity 
equivalent to it ; we only heard that the eldest of the 
temporal emperor's two hundred physidans* was equal in 
rank to the Governor of Mastmai. 

The Japanese compare their laws to an adamantine 
pillar, which neither climate, storms, nor time can destroy, 
or even shake. The government is well aware of the 
defects of the laws. One of the most prominent of these 
defects is the severity of punishments; but it is feared 
that any attempt to effect sweeping reforms at once, 
might cause the people to despise the ancient laws, and 
become accustomed to innovations. The inchnation of 
the people to abolish ancient laws and manners, and to 
adopt new ones, may, in the opinion of the Japanese 
Government, prove ruinous to the empire, by causing 

* This numerous retinue of phyncians may not appear so very extra- 
ordinary, when it is mentioned, that besides the duty of attending the 
numerous imperial household, it is also their business to pick out every 
grain of rice for the emperor's table with a pair of tongs. This, probably, 
finds them plenty of employment. 


revolutions, the consequences of which might be civil 
war and conquest by foreign powers. The ingenious 
policy of the government finds means to mitigate the 
rigour of the laws without impairing their strength or 
sacredness. Thus, for example, the Japanese criminal 
laws prescribe the use of torture to compel confession,* 
but the judges seldom resort to this tyrannical expedient. 
They endeavour to induce the accused, by exhortation, 
voluntarily to confess his guilt, or they seek to discover 
the truth by stratagem. If neither of these plans succeed, 
and should there still remain a doubt respecting the 
crime, the judge must endeavour to find reasons for the 
justification of the accused. The Japanese, therefore, 
employ torture only when a criminal, who is already 
convicted, will not confess. They proceed with the same 
humanity in cases where a trifling fault is to be visited 
with a severe punishment j- the judges then endeavour to 
find reasons whichserve to extenuate the crime in the 
eye of the law, j>/ by suppressing some circumstances 
to establish tj^ i Justification of the accused. On the 
occasion of c /flight from prison, the conduct of the 
Japanese to c^ guards afforded confirmation of this fact. 
In some cases, the Japanese laws allow the person 
injured to do himsdtf justice. A man who takes his wife 
in adultery, may put her and the adulterer to death upon 
the spot; but he must be able to prove that the crime 
has been committed. A father has the same right over 

* Amongst tlie yarious kinds of torture in use among the Japanese, I 
wi& mention only one. The accused is placed on his bare knees, upon a 
ifxf blunt sabre, or bar of iron, and then stones are hung upon him, so 
that in proportion as the weight is gradually augmented, his sufferings are 
increased. This species of torture the Japanese consider mild compared 
inth some others in use among them. 


the seducer of his daughter^ if she has been guilty of > 

a similar crime. The life of an undutiful child is entirely 

in the power of the father. ^ 

Lawsuits are for the most part settled by arbitrators, 
chosen by the parties themselves. If they cannot succeed \ 
in arranging the affair, it is carried before the courts of /*. 

It is seldom that lawsuits arise respecting the inhe- 
ritance or division of property, because parents, wha dis- 
pose of it at their pleasure, make arrangements in time. 
They seldom divide their property equally among their 
children ; the eldest and worthiest of the sons generally 
obtain the largest share, and the others but a very small 
portion. The Jesuits and other early writers assert, that 
as soon as the eldest son of a family comes to the years of 
manhood, the parents retire, and place him in their stead; 
merely reserving as much wealth ^ will support them in 
their retreat, and enable them to^ducate and bring up 
their other children. The daughterlP'o not receive any 
dowry, but on their marriage their hv^Huds give them 
costly presents, which are immediate^^^anded to the 
parents. Thus a man with several haL\ S^e daughters 
may consider his fortune made. ^ 

According to the laws, a Japanese, can have only one 
wife, who, in the higher classes, must be of the same 
rank as the husband. Marriages are solemnized in 
the temples, with many ceremonies. But, beside^ this 
lawful wife, every one may have concubines, and as la^ny 
as he pleases. These have, in some degree, the rights )s^ 
wives, for their situation is not regarded as dishonourable^^-^ 
They live publicly and altogether in one house with the 
lawful wife and the husband. The latter has the right to 
separate from his wife whenever he pleases, without 


being bound to give any reason for so doing; but on 
this account, any one who is not likely to make a good 
husband must pay a large sum of money to a father for 
permission to marry his daughter. 

The Japanese women seldom marry before their 
fifteenth year; but they are marriageable at even an 
earlier age. 

The negotiation for a. wife, the beti^othing, and the mar- 
riage, are celebrated by the Japanese with many strange 
and ridiculous ceremonies, and among the rich, with great 
pomp, on which occasions there is much drinking and 
rejoicing; but the affection and apprehensions of parents 
frequently hinder them from freely indulging their joy 
at the marriage of their daughters. Our interpreter, 
Kumaddschero, visited us the day after the marriage of 
his daughter, and he told us that he had wept very much^ 
*'Why have you wept,*' said we, "since on such oc- 
casions it is usual only to rejoice?^' " Certainly,^^ said 
he, " I should rejoice, were I but convinced that the man 
will love my daughter and make her happy ; but as the 
eontrary often happens in the married state, a father who 
gives his daughter to a husband cannot be indifferent, 
for fear of future misfortune.^' He said this with tears 
in his eyes. 

A very singular custom at the marriages of the Ja- 
panese is, that the teeth of the bride are blackened by 
some corrosive liquid. The teeth remain black ever after, 
and serve to show that a woman is married, or a widow. 
At the birth of every male child, a tree is planted in the 
garden or court-yard, and when it attains its full growth 
the man is declared to be of a marriageable age. When he 
marries^ the tree is cut down, and the wood is made into 


chests and boxes, to contain the clothes and other things 
prepared for the newly-married couple. 

The Japanese may marry as often as they please. 
Marriages with sisters are prohibited ; but a man may 
marry any other relative. 

In general they are jealous; but this vice, if such it 
may be so called, prevails more among the great than 
among the middling and lower classes. The princes and 
the nobility, and the rich who imitate them, keep their 
wives almost constantly in rooms, to which no person of 
the other sex, except the nearest relatives, is admitted. 
This measure is, however, adopted by husbands, not so 
much from jealousy as pride. Women of the inferior 
classes may visit their relatives and friends, and appear in 
the streets and public places with their faces unveiled, 
but they must not converse with any person of the other 
sex in the absence of their husbands. On the whole, 
the jealousy of the Japanese cannot be compared to that 
of other Asiatic nations. 

They devote much care to the education of their 
children. They instruct them early in reading, writing, 
religion, the history of their own country, and geography ; 
and when of a proper age they are taught the art of war. 
But what is more important, children are taught from 
their earliest youth, the value of patience, modesty, and 
politeness : virtues which the Japanese practice in a i^- 
markable degree, and which we often had occasion to 
admire in them. In my Narratiire I have frequently 
mentioned with what patience and mildness they treated 
us, and listened to our justifications, reproaches, and even 
bitter expressions; though, to say the truth, the right 
was on their side. To be loud in dispute is considered^ 


by them, as rude and vulgar. They express their opinions 
humbly, and as if seeming to doubt the correctness of 
their own judgment. They never make direct contradic- 
tions, but always with circumlocution, and frequently 
adducing examples and comparisons, as the following 
instances will serve to shew. 

We blamed their policy in avoiding all intercourse with 
other nations, and represented to them the advantage 
which the people of Europe derived from reciprocal con- 
nections ; mutually profiting by each other's inventions 
and discoveries, and by the exchange of their produc- 
tions, promoting industry and activity. We pointed 
out to them that the inhabitants of Europe enjoy many 
pleasures and comforts, of which they would be deprived, 
if European sovereigns, like the rulers of Japan, were to 
abolish all intercourse with other countries ; in short, we 
employed in favour of our system, and to the disadvantage 
of that of Japan, the strongest arguments we could think 
of. The Japanese listened to us with attention ; praised 
the judicious policy of the European governments, and 
seemed by our reasoning to be entirely converted to our 
opinion. But by degrees they turned the conversation to 
the subject of war, and asked us, " How it happened that 
in Europe five years never passed without war ? and why, 
when two nations quarrelled, many others took part in 
the dispute, and thus made the war general ?'' We 
replied, that near neighbourhood and continued inter- 
course often gave rise to disputes, which cannot always 
be amicably settled ; particularly when interest or pride 
are concerned : but when one nation obtains too great a 
preponderance over another, the rest, fearing that it may 
also become fonuidable to them, join the weaker against 
the more powerful. 


They enquired how many states there were in Europe ? 
After we had mentioned them all by name, they observed, 
that "if Japan and China entered into closer connec- 
tion with European powers, and imitated their political 
system, there might be more frequent wars and more 
blood-shed." " That might probably happen," answere4 
we. "Then in that case," they rejoined, "it will, 
perhaps, be more advisable, and will tend more to 
diminish human misery, if Japan abide by her old rules, 
and decline engaging in those connections and treaties 
with Europe, of the value of which you try to convince 
us." I confess I was not able to give a satisfactory 
answer to this unexpected objection ; and was forced to 
say, that my ignorance of the Japanese language disabled 
me from proving the truth of our assertions. But even 
had I been a Japanese orator, I should probably have 
found some difficulty in refuting this argument. 

At other times, when we dwelt on the advantages of 
Europeans, and the many pleasures which were quite 
unknown in Japan, they expressed a wish to spend a few 
years in Europe. They then turned the conversation 
again on Japan ; and said, that there were in that empire 
two neighbouring towns, which they named to us, of 
which the one was very large, and the other, on the con- 
trary, very small. In the greater, the inhabitants were 
rich, and had abundance of necessaries and luxuries, but 
they unhappily lived in constant quarrels, and there w^re 
so many bad men among them, that people durst not 
venture in the streets at night, for fear of being mur- 
dejred. In the small city, there was nothing more than 
was necessary, and the inhabitants lived all like brethren 
among themselves, and no quarrel was ever known. 
But as we gave the preference to the small city over 


the large one, they compared Europe and Japan with 
those two cities, and, perhaps the comparison was not 
entirely without reason. 

In their intercourse with each other, the Japanese are 
extremely polite, and the young shew great respect to the 
old. Their usual complimentary salutation is bending the 
knees; but if they wish to show any one particular honour, 
they kneel down, and bow their bodies to the ground. 
But this is only done within doors ; in the streets they 
merely make a motion as if intending to kneel. When 
saluting a person of rank, they bend the knees so as to 
be enabled to touch the ground with their lingers. They 
then address the individual by name, while they draw in 
their breath, as for example : ^^ Ai ! Sampe Sama,^^ (Ah ! 
my Lord Sampe.) If saluting one of their equals, they 
bend the knees, bow, and lay the palm of the hand on the 
knee, saying: "Ai! Koniddschi,'' (Ah! to^day^ ) which ^jt^^^"^| 
ia . the Japfoiese language expresses a welcome. Or they 
say: "Ai! tenki-ioi, Ai! tenki-wari," (Ah! good wea- 
ther ; Ah ! bad weather) or ^' Gogro-degusar,^' which 
means literally to have a heart, and answers to our. 
How fares it ? When two Japanese meet, and after the 
first compliments are interchanged, they inquire with 
great ceremony and many bows, respecting each others 
health, relations, &c." Our sentinels never relieved each 
other without the interchange of these ceremonies and 
compliments. At parting they repeat the same bows, 
and fix the time when they hope to meet again, as for - ! 

example : *' Ai ! Kogonotz !^' (Ah I nine o'clock I) or - , . i 
"Ai! Mionidschi V (Ah! to-morrow, &c.), these phrases d^C ^ \ 
are equivalent to our (Jood-bye. ^/i^^-ir- 

In building, the Japanese use stone only for founda- 
tions, as they fear the violent earthquakes to which their 


country is liable. The wooden houses are generally only 
one story high, and are built very slightly, on account 
of the warm climate. The interior partitions, which 
divide the rooms, are moveable, so that they may be 
taken away ; thus a whole house may be made into one 
room. The Japanese have no stoves; and they do not 
require them. They have their fires in little neat chafing 
dishes; the poor people kindle theirs on the hearths. 
The rooms contain no furniture. The floor is covered 
with clean and handsome mats, over which they often 
lay carpets, or cloths. Arms of different kinds, porcelain 
vessels, and curiosities adorn the inside of the houses. 
The walls are covered with coloured or gold paper ; and 
in the houses of the rich, they are inlaid with various 
kinds of rare wood, curiously carved and gilt. The out- 
side of the houses is almost destitute of ornament, and 
the difference between the houses of the rich and those 
of poor people, independently of the size, is that the 
former stand in spacious court-yards, surrounded by a 
high wall or mound of earth, so that only the roofs are 
seen from the street. All rich people have besides large 
gardens attached to their houses. The Japanese, in gene- 
ral, are great lovers of gardens, and spare no pains in 
their cultivation. The great beauty of the Japanese 
houses consists in their extraordinary cleanliness, a point 
to which all ranks pay especial attention. 

The streets of the Japanese towns are entremely narrow, 
and as the houses, except those of the rich, stand closely 
together, fires are generally very destructive, though 
nothing is easier than to pull down a Japanese house, 
as it consists only of beams and thin boards. 

The town police maintains peace and order amongst 
the inhabitants. Besides the civil and militaiy officers, 


who have to provide for the security of the inhabitants^ 
an elder^ with assistants^ are chosen from among the 
citizens in every street, and they are answerable for the 
preservation of peace and order in that street. On the 
public market-places, and at points where several streets 
meet, guard-houses are erected, which contain fire-engines 
and guards. During the night frequent patroles go 
through the streets, and nobody must then be seen 
without a lantern. A body of men is kept in readiness 
for the extinguishing of fires. In Yeddo, the capital of the 
temporal emperor, the number of these firemen is no less 
than forty-eight thousand. They are divided into forty- 
eight regiments, and each regiment bears the name of a 
letter of the Japanese alphabet, which is also embroidered 
on the clothes of the men as a badge. 

All Japanese, except the clergy, wear clothes of one and 
the same form, and all ranks, without exception, cut their 
hair after the same fashion. Those who have the right 
of appearing at court on New Yearns Day, when they pay 
their respects to the Emperor, wear the long Chinese 
dress. It is cmly worn on that occasion, and on no other, 
tor though the Japanese are permitted to wear the usual 
Chinese dress, very few of them make use of that per- 
mission. The father of our interpreter, Teske, wore 
the Chinese dress, and did not shave his beard, and we saw 
that everybody in Japan might dress after the Chinese 
fEuahion, except official persons and servants. The men 
shave the head and beard, but leave the hair long over 
the temples and in the neck ; they bind it together with 
a thin white lace at the back part of the head ; then they 
bring it forward in a tuft, and bind it an inch and a half 
farther forward, with the same lace, so that it lies closely 


upon the skull. The Japanese beaux use a very fine 
pomatum^ and are careful to make the hair lie very even 
and regular, so that it forms a solid mass. The hair-tuft 
is esteemed to be perfect, when it resembles a four- 
cornered piece of japanned wood, with openings at the top, 
and at both sides. The Japanese hair-dressers very expert 
in giving the hair this peculiar form. 

The female head-dress resembles the old-fashioned 
head-dress of European ladies, except that the Japanese 
women do not wear powder. They ornament the hair 
with flowers and ribands, and also with gold or silver 
bodkins. The hair of children under five years old is cut 
every year dififerently : some have a circle of hair left 
round the head, and the rest cut away; others keep 
a tuft of hair upon the crown of the head, which is 
braided with riband. Occasionally, the hair is shaved from 
the crown of the head, and left only on the temples 
and in the neck, and braided with ribands, or artificial 

The dress of both men and women, in Japan, resembles 
our loose dressing-gowns, but without collars. The 
sleeves reach only a little below the elbow, and are as 
wide as those of priests' gowns. The ends of these sleeves 
are sewed up, so that they form bags, which the Japanese 
use instead of pockets. The usual dress of the Japa- 
nese is called a chiramono. They sometimes wear five or six 
of these garments over one another, and they are fastened 
by a girdle that goes twice round the waist.* Persons 

* Those who are privileged to wear a dagger, or a sahre and dagger, 
put them in the girdle on the left side. Soldiers have a belt, but do not 
wear their arms like ours, but slip them into a girdle. 


even of moderate fortune wear silk dresses, particularly 
on holidays ; tbe rich wear materials still more costly ; the 
common people generally wear cotton. Dresses made of 
hemp are worn by the lowest classes only, and by labourers 
while at work. The Japanese have no shirts ; but instead 
of them the richer class of people wear white gowns, made 
of the finest cotton stuff, over which they then put the 
chiramono, and fasten it with a girdle. When a Japanese 
finds a room too warm, he pulls off his upper gown, and 
lets it hang down at his back, confined by the girdle ; if 
this is not enough, the second and third gown are pulled 
off, and he keeps on only one : when he feels too cold, 
the gowns are put od again one at a time. The women, 
from vanity, wear a still greater number of garments 
one over another ; their number often amounts to twenty, 
as the Japanese themselves assured us. But these gowns 
are made of very fine stuff. The women confine their 
dresses at the waist in the same manner as the men, 
except that their girdles are much broader, and the ends 
hang down lower. Another kind of Japanese gown is 
called the chauri. Its shape is the same as that of the 
chiramono, but it is longer and much wider, and is there- 
fore worn over all others, and without a girdle. These 
gowns are properly state dresses. The chiramono is 
worn only for walking in the streets, or for visiting an 
intimate friend. For more formal visits, etiquette re- 
quires that the chauri should be worn. It must have the 
family arms embroidered on the sleeves, breast and 
back. The chiramono is generally without these orna- 

The third kind of Japanese dress is called the kapa. 
This is an upper dress, which is worn in the streets during 


cold weather, and is always taken off in the house. It 
resembles the chanri, but the skirt is longer, and it may be 
made of any kind of coarse stuff. The Japanese do not 
wear trowsers, except in their military costume, or when 
travelling. Officers in the civil departments wear 
trousers on holidays, or when they present themselves to 
their superiors. Those worn by the military are like 
Turkish trousers, but not quite so wide, and are made of 
a strong silk stuff. Travelling trousers are made of silk 
or of cotton. They are wide, and without buttons ; but 
have kneebands, and are fastened roimd the waist with 

*With respect to the third kind of Japanese trousers, 
which are properly part of the state dress, they exactly 
resemble a woman^s petticoat. The Japanese, indeed, wear 
them over their long gowns ; the only difference between 
these trousers and a petticoat is that they are narrower at 
the lower than at the upper part, and that they are 
stitched together in the middle almost to the knees, so 
that this seam separates the two legs. The Japanese are 
very extravagant in this part of their dress. When we 
appeared before the governors, they and the principal 
officers wore different trousers almost every day. They 
were made of thick silk, like gros de Tours, and were 
sometimes green, sometimes blue, lilac, or other colours. 
The upper dress was always black. 

The Japanese do not wear stockings, except when 
travelling : they call them Kafan. They are generally 
woven of strong cotton, or made of cotton stuff, sewed 
together. There is a place for the great toe like the 
finger of a glove : this is required by the form of the 
Japanese shoes. 


These shoes have soles of straw, or slips of wood.* 
Those most usually worn are called Sori, and are nothing 
more than soles woven of rice straw. From one side of 
die sole to the other there is a band of the same straw, of 
the thickness of a finger, so that the foot is put through 
it; from the middle of this band to the fore end of the 
sole there runs a similar band, which is put between the 
second and great toe: in this manner the Sori keeps 
firm to the foot. The Japanese are so used to these shoes 
Aat they put them on with the greatest ease, as we do 
our slippers, and they wear them without stockings ; but 
the use of the Sori causes a great separation between the 
first and second toes. These Sori are worn by men, 
women, and children. Rich people have them handsomer, 
and better woven ; with welts of shamoy leather, and with 
the bands stitched round with the same leather. The com- 
mon people wear the ordinary straw Sori. 

The Japanese travelling-shoes are called Waransi. 
These are Sori of straw, only stronger and simpler ; and 
they are fastened to the feet with thin straps. Stockings 
are always worn with these shoes. The third kind of 
shoes are only put on in wet and muddy weather. They 
consist of thin slips of light wood ; and on the under part 
of the sole two cross pieces of wood are fastened, which 
raise the feet from the ground. At the top are two laces, 

* Thanberg observes, tbat the shoes of the Japanese are made of rice 
straw, plaited, and are by no means strong. Their cost is very trifling — 
merely a few copper coins ; and they are the articles, apparently most 
exposed for sale in the different villages. Those in common use are 
irithoat strings ; bat fitted with them for travelling. It is common for 
travellers to carry two or three pairs with them ; and old worn-out shoes 
which have been thrown away, are constantly seen lying by the road- 
sides, especially near rivulets or pools of water. 



by means of which they are kept fast to the foot. The rich 
have these shoes japanned or painted^ and the band is sewed 
round with leather; the poor people have them of common 
wood. The Japanese walk with the greatest ease and very 
quickly in these Waransi; when the ground is slippery, 
they use a stick. Shoes of this kind are extremely conve- 
nient, as they can be very quickly put oflF and on, and it is 
the custom always to leave them at the door, and to enter 
the house only in stockings, or bare-footed. Even in our 
prison, high oi&cial persons took off their shoes at the 
threshold. The shoes were generally received by a servant, 
who presented them to the owners on their departure. 

'The Japanese wear nothing round the throat, which, 
together with a part of the breast, are uncovered. When 
they find it cold, they wrap themselves up in their gowns. 
Gloves are not used ; if the hands are cold, they are 
slipped into the long sleeves. Hats are worn only in very 
hot or in rainy* weather. The crown of the hat is so small 
that only the tuft of ^hair can go into it. The brims are 
very broad, and the hats are, therefore, tied with ribbons 
under the chin, to prevent them from falling off. The 
common people wear straw-hats ; the rich wear leathern or 
wooden ones, which are japanned or painted, and some- 
times even gilded. But, in general, the Japanese like to go 
bare-headed, even in the sun. If the sun be troublesome, 
they shade the head with a fan, and they always carry one 
or two fans about them in summer. When they are not 
using their fans, they slip them into their girdles, where 
they have also an ink-stand and a case for pencils. They 
wear in the bosom a kind of pocket-book, with paper, 
money and medicines; with the latter no Japanese is 
ever unprovided. Black is the colour most worn : the 


upper dresses of rich people are almost always black. 
White is not worn, because it is a sign of mourning. 

The Japanese eat very little in comparison with 
Europeans. Each one of u« when in prison ate as much 
as two natives, and when we travelled, three Japanese 
would certainly have been amply provided with what one 
of our sailors consumed. Their chief food is rice, fish, 
herbs, roots, fruits, fungi, shell-fish of every kind, pease 
and beans.* The flesh of swine, deer, bears, and hares, is 
eaten by a few sects only : the same may be said of 
birds, which are, besides, extremely dear. I have had 
aheady frequent occasion to speak of Japanese repasts, 
and will, therefore, now only mention what I have not 
had before an opportunity to notice. The rich, as well as 
the poor, spend but little in eating and drinking ; they 
are extremely temperate, seldom invite company, and very 
rarely have great entertainments. Their greatest luxury 
consists in having many servants.f Every person of any 
consideration must have, besides servants, a large house- 

* Many articles of food admired by the Japanese are not likely ever 
to become grateful to European palates. Among these is the ika, a 
species of common polypus, and also the jako, with long tails fixed on 
the feet ; at the «nds of which are little hooks, to enable it to hang on 
the rocks. These are eaten raw, boiled, or potted, like anchovies, and 
considered as a most delicious relish. Some of these polypi are said to 
be so large, that it requires two men to lift one of them. The Jesuit 
miters assert that the Japanese far excel all then: neighbours in the 
preparation of various beverages ; and that, in their cooking, they possess 
the secret of giving the most delicious flavour, to the most insipid viands. 

t The fidelity and affection of servants in Japan have been described 
as most extraordinary. They literally follow their masters to the grave \ 
for whenever a man of any rank dies, a certain number of his domestics 
always commit suicide, in order, as they say, to attend him with their 
services in the next world. 

I. 2 


hold; consisting of secretaries, physicians, pages, &c. 
On solemn occasions, he cannot appear without a great 
train suitable to his rank. 

As for the lower orders of the Japanese, I believe there 
is scarcely a people in the world who could live upon so 
little : in this respect, perhaps the Chinese alone may be 
compared with them. A native of Japan is satisfied, for 
the whole day with a handful of rice and a piece of fish, 
of so small a size that he can put it into his mouth all 
at once. With this he eats herbs or roots, or picks up 
shell fish, and prepares from them a savoury and whole- 
some meal. The Japanese, indeed, fully exemplify how 
little is really necessary for the support of man. 

The rich Japanese make a great show of their 
equipages. The princes and most distinguished people 
have carriages which resemble those used in Europe in 
former times, and which were introduced into Japan by 
the Dutch. They are often drawn by horses, but for the 
most part by oxen. Chairs, like the sedan chairs of 
Europe, are also used. The Japanese ride on horseback, 
but consider it vulgar to hold the bridle themselves : the 
horse must be led. 

We once saw the governor of Matsmai ride on horse- 
back to a temple, where he must go once every year in 
spring to ofier thanksgiving. The high priest, with the 
other priests and officers who were required to be present, 
had preceded him. He rode alone, without ceremony, and a 
small retinue attended him on foot. To the horse's bit 
there were fastened, instead of the bridle, two light blue 
girdles, which two grooms held fast on each side of the 
animal's mouth. The ends of these girdles were held by 
two other grooms, who proceeded at a little distance from 


the others, so that these four men occupied almost the 
whole road. The tail of the horse was contained in a 
light hlue silk hag. The governor, dressed in his usual 
clothes, in which we had often seen him, sat without his 
hat, upon a magnificent saddle, and with his feet in 
wooden japanned stirrups, which resemhled little boxes.* 
The grooms who held the horse at the bit, continually 
cried : Chaif chai (softly, softly), however, they urged on 
the horse and made it leap and move quickly ; the governor 
then stooped and held fast the saddle with both hands. 
A file of soldiers, with two sergeants, proceeded a Uttle m 
advance of him, and though noboby was in the way, they 
continually called out : " Make room I make room \" The 
governor was followed by his armour-bearers, who carried 
all the insignia of his dignity in cases ; this was to signify 
that the governor was incognito. 

The Japanese are always good-humoured and cheerful. 
I never saw those with whom -we were acquainted melan- 
choly. They are fond of lively conversation, and jesting ; 
they always sing when at work, and if the work is of 
such a kind, that it can be performed to the measure of a 
tune, such as rowing or carrying burthens, they sing. 
They are lovers of music and dancing. They have an 
instrument which resembles a recumbent harp; also a 
kind of violin, flutes of various kinds and a drum. The 
Japanese spoke of many other kinds of musical instru- 
ments which were in use among them, but they were not 
to be found in Matsmai, and I could not comprehend what 
kind of instruments they were. Notwithstanding the 

* I have seen in Spain and Portagal stirrups which resemble the 
Japanese ; and also rode many times with them They are not very 
el^;ant, but are convenient, particularly for bad riders. 


cheerful character of the Japanese^ their songs are some- 
what melancholy and plaintive. When singing, their 
movements always correspond with the words; the 
attitudes of the singer are therefore very frequently 
ridiculous. They make horrid grimaces, distort their 
features, and turn up their eyes. Sometimes they seem 
to be laughing with one side of the face, and crying with 
the other. During our stay at Chakodade, we had a servant 
who was said to be a great dancer ; we were tdd that he 
had even danced on the stage, and had received much 
approbation from the public. This virtuoso danced before 
us, and thereby gave our guards extraordinary pleasure. 

The Japanese love dramatic representation, and there 
is a theatre at Matsmai. It was many times promised 
that we should see a piece performed, but we never did. 
Probably permission was refused by the government in 
the capital ; for had it depended only upon the Bunyos, 
they would certainly have aflPorded us this pleasure, as 
they were so well disposed towards us, particularly Arrao- 
Madsimani-Kami, of whose kind feeling I have rften 
spoken in my narrative. 

We were, however, several times taken into the theatre 
during the daytime, that we might see the interior arrange- 
ments. It is a large, and pretty high building ; at the back 
is the stage, which, as with us, has a raised floor. From the 
stage to the front wall, where the entrance is situated, "two 
rows of seats are placed for the spectators. In the middle, 
where we have the pit, there is a vacant space, in which 
straw mats are laid down for the spectators. As this place 
is much lower than the stage, those in front do not intercept 
the view of those behind. There is no orchestra, either 
because the Japanese perform no music in their theatres, 
or because the musicians are reckoned among the actors. 


Opposite the stage, where, in our theatres there is the 
emperor's box and the galleries, there are only a bare wall 
and the door for the entrance. There were no ornaments 
in the interior; the walls were not even painted. The 
dresses and decorations are kept in a separate building. 
The subjects of their plays are chiefly memorable events 
in their own history, but they have also other represen- 
tations which are of a comic nature, and serve to amuse 
the public. 

Among the amusements of the Japanese may be 
reckoned their pleasure-boats or yachts, which are very 
magnificent and expensive. They are constructed in any 
style, according to the taste of the owner, and are often 
of cedar. Though principally built for rowing, yet they 
generally have two decks, the first of which is low and 
flat, and the other filled up with windows, and screened 
oflF into several cabins. Their ornaments and flags are 
numerous and grotesque. The rich are fond of water 
parties, but only on the rivers and canals, or between the 
islands; they do not venture to go to a distance from the 
coasts, for fear of being carried away by the wind, as 
their merchant ships frequently are. 

The Japanese are quick in learning, and possess not 
only drawings, but models of European vessels ; but as 
they will not introduce among themselves any foreign 
improvements, they lose every year a great many ships 
and seamen. The extraordinary population of Japan 
causes this loss of life to be little cared for by the 



Productions of the country — Agriculture — Manufactures — flsberies — 
Making of salt — Cotton — Silk — Copper — Iron — Timber — ^Tea — To- 
bacco — Horses — Cattle — Hemp — Lead — Tin — Pearls — Marbles — 
Fruits, vegetables, &c. — Domestic animals — Poultry — ^Wild animals — 
Birds, fish, &c.— State of the fine arts — Foreign trade — Custom-houses 
— Smuggling regulations — Coinage — Paper currency — Trade with the 
Chinese and Dutch. 

Though the Japanese possessions extend over only a 
few degrees of latitude, yet the climate of the country is 
uncommonly diversified. The cause of this is the peculiar 
situation of the country. This diversity of climate causes 
great variety in the productions of the soil. The princi- 
palities of Tzyngaru, Nambu, and the island of Matsmai, 
with other northern possessions, where the ground is 
covered with snow about five months together, produce 
many plants that belong to the frigid zone ; and in the 
southern possessions of Japan, the fruits of tropidal 
climates are found to, flourish. 

As I had no opportunity of visiting the principal islands 
belonging to Japan, I cannot speak of their productions 
from my own knowledge. I can only repeat what I have 
heard from the Japanese, and describe what I could infer 


from their way of life, and what I saw of the articles 
imported into the island of Matsmai. 

The chief and most useful productions of Japan are : 
rice, fish, radishes, salt, cotton, silk, copper, iron, tim- 
ber, tea, tobacco, horses, oxen, hemp, and a tree which 
they call kadzy; gold and silver, lead, quicksilver, and 

Rice is the chief production, and nearly the only article 
the Japanese use for bread. It is to them what rye is to 
us : nay, it it is even more important, for there are many 
persons in Russia who eat no rye bread ; in Japan, on the 
contrary, everybody, from the monarch to the beggar, 
lives on rice. Besides, throughout Japan, rice-straw is 
used for making shoes, hats, floor mats, mats for sacks, 
and for packing-up goods ; it is also employed for manu- 
facturing a kind of writing paper, and many other things 
of less consequence, but useful for domestic purposes, 
such as baskets, brooms, &c. The Japanese extract from 
rice a kind of brandy or wine, and the weak liquor called 

Fish is in Japan what butchers' meat is in Europe, but 
much more important, because we eat many kinds of meat 
and als6 fish ; whereas, in Japan, but few people eat meat, 
except the priests, and all, without exception, eat fish. 
Besides, they light their houses with fish oil, which 
is made in great quantities in the northern parts of Japan. 
Only the rich bum candles. 

The radish supplies the place of our cabbage, and 
is used in soup in various ways; salted radish is also 
used instead of salt, as a seasoning for food. Whole 
fields are sown with radishes. The Japanese are so used 
to radish soup, that a scarcity of this plant would be very 
distressing to them. 


Salt is not only indispensable for their daily use, but it 
serves also for curing fish. The chief fisheries are on the 
coasts of the Kurile Islands and Sagaleen, whence many 
hundred ships annually bring fish to the ports of Japan. 
Two methods are employed for preserving fish, salting 
and drying; but the large fish cannot be so dried as 
to remain long fit for food in so warm a climate. 

Silk and cotton, besides the uses to which they are 
generally applied, also supply the place of our wool, hemp, 
flax, down, feathers, and furs ; for all articles of clothing 
worn in Japan are made of these two substances. Cotton 
stuff is used for making travelling cloaks, cases for arms, 
and tobacco-pouches, which are varnished in such a 
manner that they look like leather. 

Copper and iron are as necessary in Japan as in Europe. 
Besides the ordinary uses to which we apply copper, the 
Japanese cover with that metal the roofs of houses, 
which they desire particularly to preserve. They also 
cover with the copper, outer joists of their buildings, that 
the rain-water may not penetrate. Tobacco pipes are 
also made of copper. A very large quaijtity of iron 
is used for nails ; for the Japanese houses consist of boards 
nailed together, within and without, to upright pillars, 
which are joined by cross beams; every little box too, 
however inconsiderable, is fastened together with nails. 

In so populous a country as Japan, where frequent and 
violent earthquakes render it dangerous to erect buildings 
of stone, timber may be reckoned among the chief neces- 
saries of the people. 

Tea and tobacco, it may be thought, could be easily 
dispensed with ; but custom and fashion often operate as 
strongly as nature. Next to food, tea and tobacco are, 
above everything, necessary to the Japanese, who smokes 


his pipe continually, and sips tea with it. His little pipe 
is filled every five minutes, and after a few puffs it is l^id 
down. Even during the night, the Japanese get up for a 
few minutes to smoke tobacco and drink a cup of tea. 

The Japanese do not use the flesh of horned cattle 
for food, because they have a prejudice against it; but 
they keep some oxen as well as horses for draught. 

Hemp is manufactured into coarse cloth for workmen's 
dresses, and for the sails of ships ; but cables and ropes 
are made of the tree called kadzy, without tar or any other 
Tesinous matter. Hence their ropes are not comparable, 
either in strength or durability, with those made of hemp ; 
but they are good enough for their limited voyages. 
Besides, the cheapness of the material admits of these 
ropes being very frequently renewed. From the bark of 
the kadzy are also made thread, lamp-wicks, a kind of 
cheap cloth, writing-paper, and the paper for Japanese 

Gold and silver, so far as they serve for ornament and 
luxury, cannot indeed be reckoned among the necessaries 
of life ; but if we consider the means which they afford 
as money, for purchase and the exchange of home pro- 
ductions, they may certainly be numbered among neces- 
saries, and on this account I mention them here. 

Lead, tin, and quicksilver may also be reckoned impor- 
tant necessaries, as they are reqxiired in the refining of 
gold and silver, and also in the manufacture of arms. 
Sulphur likewise may come under the head of necessaries. 

Rice grows in such great abundance in the central part 
of the island of Niphon, that, notwithstanding the vast 
population of the country, the Japanese have no need 
to import it. It is true they receive rice from China, but 


only by way of precaution against scarcity. The northern 
provinces of Japan, viz. : the principalities of Nambu and 
Tzyngaru, are poor in rice, and receive it, for the most 
part, from other countries. It is not cultivated in 
Matsmai, Sagaleen, and the Kurile Islands, because it 
does not thrive in those places, owing to the cold climate. 
We saw, indeed, pieces of land sown with rice in Matsmai, 
in a valley near Chakodade, but our guards told us that 
it was only done for experiment. 

The Japanese boil rice into a kind of thick gruel, 
which they eat at all their meals instead of bread. From 
rice-flour they prepare cakes and divers kinds of pastry 
resembling our confectionary. But rice is not the only 
bread-corn of the Japanese. They have also barley, 
which is sometimes used as forage for horses. Cakes 
and other things are made from barley-meal. Maize is 
used as food in various ways ; sometimes whole ears are 
roasted, and the grain is eaten. Beans are a favourite 
dish of the Japanese; they sometimes eat them merely 
boiled in water, sometimes in treacle or soy ; small beans 
are often boiled with thick rice, and are considered a great 
delicacy. The Japanese soy is also prepared from beans, 
and turned sour in casks. They say that three years 
are required for preparing the best soy. Sweet and 
common potatoes are also cultivated in Japan, but they 
want land to plant them. The Japanese sweet potatoes 
are quite diflferent from those I saw in other parts of 
the world, as in Portugal, in the island of Madeira, in 
Brazil, &c.* They resemble in size our largest European 

* Thunberg says, that in the environs of Nangasaky he saw in the 
vicinity of every village, amongst the hills, large ranges of sloping 
grounds covered with the batatas, or convolvulus edulis. They are mealy, 


potatoes, but they are a little longer. The skin is dark 
red, the inside white, the taste agreeable, and they have 
the odour of the rose. Peas in Japan are only a garden 
plant. In so confined and populous a state as Japan, and 
such a climate, no com, except rice, can be in general 
use, because only rice can grow in so limited a space 
in sufficient abundance. 

I cannot exactly state what kinds of fish are caught in 
the southern and central parts of the coasts of Japan, and 
in the rivers ; but on the coasts of Matsmai, Kunashier, 
Eetooroop and Sagaleen, almost all the different kinds of 
fish common in Kamtschatka are caught in great quanti- 
ties. There is no kind of marine animal, save those which 
are poisonous, that the Japanese do not use as food; 
whales, sea-lions, all kinds of seals, porpoises, and sea- 
bears, furnish them with palata|;?le food. Throughout all 
the Japanese possessions there is no coast without fisheries, 
which employ a number of people. On the coast, the 
fish are caught in great nets, in the seas with lines.* 

tnd mnch more agreeable to the taste than the common potato» or 
soUtnum tuberosum, as cultivated in Japan. The latter, Thunberg says, 
succeeds but indifferently. 

* There is a large flat fish with a long tail, at the end of which is a 
piece of bone or horn, considered by the Japanese as an infallible cure 
for the bite of a serpent. Gold-fish, of the most beautiful kinds, are 
fmrnd on many parts of the coast ; also silver fish, which are caught and 
preserved in ponds, and fed with worms and flies. Eels are frequently 
found in the rice grounds ; and the Japanese believe that they may be 
produced by cutting straw, mixing it with mud, and exposing it to the 
warmth of the morning sun. There is another curious fish — curious, at 
least, from the descriptions of the Spamsh Jesuit missionaries, who call 
it todo noevOy "a small fish covered with hair, with four feet, like 
hogs' feet ; from whence we may suppose it to be a species of seal." 
This is the fish whose oil is said to prevent ebriety. 


The Japanese do not, like Europeans, venture to kill 
whales in the open sea, but they catch them in creeks, 
and close to the coast, in very strong nets. Dead marine 
animals, which the waves cast on shore, are used as food, 
even by people of the highest class. 

The Japanese radish is, in form and taste, very diflFerent 
from ours; it is thin and extremely long, sometimes 
two arsheens in length. Its taste is not very bitter, but 
sweetish, almost like our turnips. Whole fields are 
covered with it. A great part of the crop is salted, the 
other part is buried in the ground for winter and boiled 
in soup. Not even the radish leaves are wasted : they 
are boiled in souj!) or salted, and eaten as salad. The 
fresh leaves of this plant are warmed by fire till they 
smoke, and then put in a packet of tobacco. This, say 
the Japanese, prevents the tobacco from drying up, and 
gives it an agreeable smell and taste. 

Salt, as I have before observed, is a grand article of 
consumption in Japan.* The Japanese informed us, that 
they had rock-salt, but only in small quantities ; and as 
it is brought from the interior of the empire, and not 
easy of conveyance, very little of it is used. In general, 
sea-salt is used in almost all parts of Japan ; its prepara- 
tion is facilitated by the extraordinary saltness of the sea- 
water near the tropics, and by the evaporation produced 
by the heat. The Japanese have, therefore, large pits on 
the coast, into which they let the sea-water flow when the 

* Koempfer mentions that in some provinces salt is made, in the first 
instance, not by evaporating, but by pouring sea-water upon sand, until 
saturated ; after which the sand is washed, and the lye boiled in pots 
until it crystallizes. 


tide is up ; the evaporation leaves a thick sediment, from 
which they boil their salt. 

According to the description of the Japanese, their 
cotton must be of the same kind as I have seen in the 
English -West Indian colonies, that is, it grows on small 
trees, about five or six feet high. They have, however, 
other kinds of cotton, but I was not able sufficiently to 
understand their descriptions. The country must produce 
an immense quantity, as almost all the inhabitants are 
clothed in it. The wadding made from it serves the 
purpose of fur, and is used for lining mattresses and 
night-gowns, which serve for quilts. From cotton, the 
Japanese likewise make a kind of writing-paper.* It is 
made also into wicks, of which an immense quantity 
must be used, as the Japanese always keep lights burning 
during the night. Rich people burn candles, and the 
poor, fish-oil. Whea fpreign vessels enter their ports, or 
an officer of distinction arrives, the Japanese hang the 
whole town with cotton stuff. In a word, there is 
perhaps no other country in which so great a quantity 
of cotton is used as in Japan ; for this reason, great care 
is taken to extend its cultivation. As an instance of 
the industiy and activity of this original people, it may be 
mentioned that they import from the Kurile Islands, into 
the interior of Japan, herrings spoiled by keeping, to 
serve as manure for the cotton plantations. They first 
boil the herrings in large iron kettles ;t then put them 
into presses, and let all the liquid flow into the same 

* The kadsi, or paper-tree, also supplies materials for that manu- 
t I was an eye-witness of this process in the island of Kunashier. 


kettles, from which they take the oil for their lamps. The 
remains of the herrings are spread upon mats, and laid 
in the sun to dry till they corrupt, and are almost con- 
verted into ashes. They are then stowed in sacks and 
put on board the boats. The earth round each cotton 
plant is manured with this, which causes the crop to be 
extremely abundant. 

Japan is very rich in silk. Matsmai is considered one 
of the very poorest towns, yet we constantly saw people 
of all ranks, especially women, in silk dresses. On fes- 
tival days, even the common soldiers wore costly silk 
dresses. If we consider the great population of the Ja- 
panese empire, the quantity of silk must be very great, 
even if only rich people wore it. It is not, indeed, 
difficult for the Japanese to cultivate this production 
to a great extent, as it requires only a good climate and 
industry. The climate is favourable, and industry is 
a quality possessed by the Japanese in a very high 

Copper is also produced in Japan in great abundance.* 
The inhabitants cover with it the roofs of some of their 
houses, the fore part of their ships, and the joists in the 
houses. Of this metal they manufacture their kitchen 
utensils, tobacco-pipes, fire-shovels, &c. In our prison, 
the hearth was covered with copper, and the fire-shovel 
was of the same metal : this shows that the Japanese do 
not set any great value upon it. Tea-kettles alone must 

* The Japanese copper, which always formed a considerable part of the 
Dutch trade, is expressly described by Thunberg, as containing more gold, 
and being finer than any other in the world. It is cast into bars six inches 
long, and of the thickness of a finger, flat on one side, and convex on the 
other, and of a fine bright colour. 


cause an immense consumption of copper in Japan, for 
all the Japanese drink, when thirsty, something warm, 
whetlier it be tea or water. In every house, therefore, 
the tea-kettle stands constantly on the fire, which must 
speedily destroy it. The Japanese copper utensils are, 
however, of very good workmanship 5 we often wondered 
at the durability of the tea-kettles which we made use of, 
for they stood over the fire for months together without 
being burned into holes. It is well known that the 
Dutch, in their trade with Japan, derived their greatest 
advantage from the exportation of the Japanese copper, 
because it always contains a large portion of gold, which 
the natives wanted skill or inclination to extract from it ; 
but they are now become wiser, and give the Dutch only 
pure copper. 

With respect to iron, the Japanese do not possess that 
metal in such abundance as copper, but they have suffi- 
cient to supply their wants; and if the government 
exchanged with the Dutch, copper for iron, it was not 
from necessity, but because iron is for many purposes 
preferable to copper. As the Japanese have a surplus 
of the latter, both they and the Dutch profited by this ex- 
change. They often told us that the trade with the Dutch 
did not produce them the least advantage ; only certain 
medicines and the political news, which the Dutch bring 
them, from Europe, are of importance to them. If the 
Japanese had not sufficient iron for their absolute wants, 
they would certainly set more value on the trade with 
the Dutch. 

Timber, — The greater part of the Japanese provinces 
are without wood. The extraordinary population of the 
country renders it necessary to cultivate every spot of 



ground ; and therefore only the mountains, which cannot 
be cultivated, are covered with wood. The principality 
of Nambu, which lies on the north-east part of the 
island of Niphon, being very mountainous, is rich in 
timber, with which it supplies all Japan in exchange 
for provisions. Of the latter, the principality does not 
produce sufficient for the support of the inhabitants. 
On the mountains of the islands of Matsmai, Kunashier, 
Eetooroop, and Sagaleen, there are forests containing all 
kinds of trees, which the Japanese also make use of. 
Nevertheless, but little timber is obtained from these 
islands, because it is difficult to convey it from the in- 
terior to the coasts. When the Japanese feel the neces- 
sity of surmounting these obstacles, they will soon open 
a road to mountains, which other nations would consider 
as inaccessible. I doubt whether anything would be 
impossible to the zeal, activity, and patience of this 

The Japanese wished to know the Russian name for 
some species of wood, and brought to us pieces and 
branches of wood, asking what they were called in 
Russian. We made use of this opportunity to inquire 
where these trees grew. By this means we learned that 
several kinds of oak, palm (of which the Japanese make 
very good combs), bamboo, cypress, cedar, yew, firs, and 
other trees, the names of which are unknown to us, 
grow in their islands. 

I have before mentioned, that habit has rendered tea 
one of the first necessaries of life among the Japanese. 
Japan produces both green and black tea.* The former 

* The Japanese tea-tree is described, by Kcempfer, as having leaves 
like the cherry, ynth a flower like a wild rose. It grows, in the most 


is considered as the best, and in fact is so. The Ja- 
panese even prefer it to the Chinese green tea; but 
to our taste it did not merit that preference. With 
respect to their black tea, it is very bad, and the Japanese 
drink it merely to quench their thirst; whereas they 
look upon the green tea as a delicacy, and treat their 
company with it. The government officials, and also 
the governor himself, often sent us green tea as a pre- 
sent; but then the interpreters and the guards assisted, 
with good appetite, in emptying our tea-kettle. Tea 
grows in all the southern provinces of Japan; the best 
green is produced in the principality of Kioto, in which 
Kio, the city or residence of the spiritual emperor, is 
situated.* In this province, tea is cultivated with great 
care, both for his court and that of the temporal 

Tobacco is an article equally indispensable to the 
Japanese. The Catholic missionaries were the first who 
introduced this plant into Japan, and taught its use. 
Prom them too the Japanese received its name, and thoy 
still call it tobacco, or tabago. It is astonishing how the 
use of this herb should have spread, in so short a time, 
over the whole earth. Our interpreter, Teske, one of the 
most sensible of our Japanese acquaintance, was himself 
a great smoker ; but he often declared that the Christian 
priests had not done the Japanese so much injury by the 

sterile places, to the height of about six feet. It is an evergreen. When 
fresh, the leaves have no smell, but a very astringent taste. 

* Some Europeans call the residence of the spiritual emperor Miako ; 
but the vrord Miago (not Miako) means metropolis, and is given, by the 
Japanese^ to this city as a distinction. Its proper name, however, is Kio, 
and Kioto the name of the province. 

M 2 


introduction of their faith as by the introduction of 
tobacco. The former they observed, was only a transitory 
and long-forgotten evil, but the latter diverted, and pro- 
bably would do for centuries to come, large tracts of land 
and a number of hands from the production of useful 
and necessary articles, which are now dear, but might 
otherwise be cheap. 

I do not know how many species of this plant there are 
in nature, nor how many species the Japanese possess ; 
but I saw various kinds of prepared tobacco among 
them, from the most agreeable to the most unpleasant. 
They cut both the good and the bad tobacco very small, 
as the Chinese do: in the manufacture of the better 
sort, they use sagi to moisten it, and sell it in papers, 
which weigh about a Russian pound. They consider 
the tobacco from Sasma the best; next in quality is 
that from Nangasaky, Sinday, &c. The worst comes 
from the province of Tzyngaru : it is strong, of a black 
colour, and has an unpleasant taste and smell. The 
tobacco from Sasma is also strong, but it has an agree- 
able taste and odour, and is of a bright yellow colour. 
The tobacco from Nangasaky is very weak, but in taste 
and smell it is perhaps the best, and is of a bright brown 
colour. The tobacco from Sinday is very good, and was 
always given us to smoke. 

The Japanese manufacture tobacco so well, that though 
I was before no friend to smoking, and even when I was 
in Jamaica, could but seldom persuade myself to use 
a Havannah cigar, yet I smoked the Japanese tobacco 
very frequently, and with great pleasure. Snuff is not 
used in Japan. 

The academician, our interpreters, and guards, all 


smoked, and used different kinds of tobacco, according 
to their respective tastes or means. Out of politeness, 
they frequently oflFered us their tobacco, and mentioned 
its name. In this manner, a conversation usually began 
upon tobacco, which often lasted for hours together. 
We often had no opportunity to speak of any other more 
important things. 

The Japanese horses are neither very large nor strong. 
They resemble, in size, our farmers^ horses, but are much 
thinner, better shaped, and also more spirited. The 
climate permits the horses, as well as the homed cattle, 
always to eat grass ; it is'only on journeys, or after some 
hard labour, that a little barley is given to them. But in 
Matsmai and Sagaleen, where a great deal of snow falls in 
the winter, the inhabitants are obliged to lay up a provision 
of hay. Among all the Japanese horses we saw, we did 
not observe a single white one ; they were mostly dark 
brown. We, therefore, asked the Japanese, if there were 
no white horses in their principal ^island, and were 
answered that they were very rarely met with. They have 
also large horses in Japan, but they are very few in 
number. The Japanese never shoe their horses, for they 
have no occasion to drive over ice, and have no pavement. 
If they travel during the rainy season in mountainous 
places, where it is slippery, they use pieces of wood of 
the size and shape of an ox's or horse's hoof. These 
pieces of wood are laid on the very thick skin of the sea- 
lion or some other marine animal, and then iron nails are 
driven through the skin, with large sharp heads. This 
serves instead of shoes. 

The horned cattle are small and lean ; for the Japanese 
do not give themselves much trouble about feeding them, 
as they do not eat beef, and drink no milk. 


Hemp grows in the northern provinces of Japan. We 
saw some in Matsmai : I have already mentioned for what 
purposes the Japanese employ it. 

The tree called Kadzy grows in great abundance, and is 
of most important use to the inhabitants. The Japanese 
explained to us what kind of tree it is ; but I never could 
understand them sufficiently to describe it. 

There are, in several parts of the empire, considerable 
gold and silver mines. The government, however, does 
not permit them all to be worked, that the value of these 
metals may not depreciate.* The Japanese use gold 
and silver for various purposes besides coin. Their 
temples are ornamented with these metals ; people of dis- 
tinction wear sabres, with gold or silver hilts and scab- 
bards; rich persons use gold and silver pipes; many 
lackered articles, such as table utensils, boxes, and screens, 
are ornamented with gold and silver ; there is a kind of 
gold and silver stuff; nay, we were told that in the 
principal cities, there are numerous public buildings with 
gilded roofs. In the houses of the princes and great 
people, there are many ornaments of the precious metals, 
and the ladies frequently wear gold and silver trinkets. 

Japan has sufficient lead, tin, quicksilver and sulphur, 
for supplying its own wants.t Not only musket bullets 

"" It is stated by Charlevoix^ that when the Jesuit missionaries first 
went to Matsmai, they found a river flowing past the walls of the city. 
In the sands of this river there was a great portion of gold dust, the 
searching for which was a great source of wealth to numberless adven- 
turers, who hired certain portions of the river, each draining his portion 
by means of a dyke and canal, permitting the river to reiume its natural 
course when the search was over. 

t A trade in sulphur might also be very advantageous, as there are 
several natural smffrterea^ the produce of which is very great, especially 


but even cannon balls, are cast of tin, which serve the 
purpose of the Japanese, who have had no wars for two 
hundred years. As for sulphur, they have an island 
which is entirely covered with it, and which, on account of 
the hot springs, is enveloped in a constant vapour. This 
island is one of the seven wonders of the Japanese empire, 
all of which they named to us.* 

Having mentioned those productions of Japan which 
supply the chief wants of the people, I proceed to those 
which minister rather to fashion or luxury, or are at 
least less necessary. They are as follows : 

Diamonds and pearls, marble and other kinds of stone,t 
the camphor tree, the varnish tree, fruit trees, garden 
plants, various wild plants, domestic and wild animals, 
used by the Japanese. 

Japan produces precious stones, but of what kinds we 
were not able to learn. The official persons who had seen 
the snuff-box and other things, which the Japanese Kodai 

in the island Ivogesima," or Sulphur-island, besides other places. The 
Jesuit writers consider sulphur as one of the greatest sources of wealth 
in Japan. 

* In the narrative of my captivity, I mentioned, that I always wrote 
down my remal-ks on small slips of paper, which I carefully preserved, 
lest our other papers should be taken from us. Unfortunately, I have 
lost several of those slips, and among them, that on which I had vmtten 
down the seven wonders. I remember only three: 1st. The above- 
mentioned island ; 2nd. A mountain, on which flames are seen during the 
night, without any body being able to assign the cause ; 3rd. A deep 
well, formed by nature, in which, when a small pebble is thrown down it, 
a dreadful noise is heard. 

t Some very fine agates are found in Japan. They are nearly equal to 
sapphires. There are also cornelians and jaspeis. Pearls are found in 
great abundance ; but, not being considered ornamental by the Japanese 
ladies, they have long been reserved for the Chinese market. - 


had received from the late Empress Catherine IL, and 
had brought with him to Japan, said that there were 
stones in Japan such as those things were ornamented 
with, but that the Japanese artists did not understand 
how to give them so beautiful a polish. % 

Japan is rich in pearls, but we did not see any remark- 
ably large. 

There are various kinds of marble in Japan. We were 
shewn various articles made of white marble with small 
blue veins, and of another kind of marble, like that with 
which St. Isaac's church, at St. Petersburg, is built. They 
also shewed us seals, made of cornelian, agate, jasper, and 
other stones, with which I am unacquainted. On the 
shores of the principalities of Nambu and Tzyngaru, there 
are found stones of different colours, and of the size of a 
nut, which are so washed by the waves that they seem 
almost transparent, like crystal. The Japanese gave me 
twelve red and twelve white stones of this kind, to use 
when we played at drafts, but the sailor whom I ordered 
to take them home with him, lost theAi. 

Many Japanese carry perfumes about them, one of 
which is camphor. They told us, that in the southern 
part of Japan, the tree which produces it grows in such 
abundance, that notwithstanding the great consumption 
of it in the country, large quantities are exported by the 
Dutch and Chinese. There is also an imitation of 
camphor in Japan, but it is easily distinguished from the 

The Japanese varnish is celebrated even in Europe. 
The tree which produces this juice grows in such abun- 
dance, that it is used for lackering table utensils, boxes, 
saddles,^ bows, arrows, spears, sheaths, cartoucb -boxes. 


tobacco-boxes, walls of rooms, screens, and, in short, 
everything that it is desirable to ornament.* We saw a 
masterpiece in varnishing. It was a bottle-case belonging 
to the governor, who sent it for us to look at. The 
polish on it was so beautiful, that we could see our faces 
in it as in a mirror. The natural colour of the varnish 
juice is white, but it assumes any colour with which it 
may be mixed. The best varnish in Japan is usually 
black or red, but we saw also green, yellow, blue and other 
colours. In varnishing, the Japanese also imitate marble. 
The juice, when fresh, is poisonous, and very injurious to 
those who collect it ; but after it has stood for some time 
in the open air, it loses its poisonous quality. Varnished 
utensils, however, may be used without danger. The 
Japanese are so clever in varnishing, that you may pour 
hot water into a vessel and drink it, without perceiving 
the slightest smell. This remark, however, applies only 
to vessels of the best workmanship ; in others, the smell 
of the paint is perceptible when warm water is poured into 

There is no want of fruit trees in Japan. There are 
oranges, lemons, peaches, apricots, plums, figs, cherries, 
pears, apples,t chesnuts, &lc. It is strange that in a 

* The real Japan Tarnish is made from a tree called silz, yielding a 
whitish juice, whose application to articles of domestic use, even at court, 
is considered more valuable than silver or gold. Its preparation is very 
simple. It is merely drawn from the tree, strained through paper, and 
then tinted with the various colouring substances required. The Japan 
varnish has always been considered much superior to that of China or 
Tooquin, and the Japanese apply it in a manner peculiar to themselves. 

t I have read, in an European work upon Japan, that there are no 
apples there. But we ourselves eat apples which came from the princi- 
pality of Tzyngaru. They were, it is true, small and ill-tasted. 


climate like Japan^ grapes should uot flourish. There are 
only small wild grapes, which are very sour, and are 
salted and eaten as salad.^ The reason perhaps is, that 
they grow in the woods, under the shade of trees, and 
that the Japanese do not understand the culture of the 

Next to rice and fish, vegetables are the favourite food 
<rf the Japanese. They have melons, water-melons, 
gourds, cucumbers, turnips, carrots, mustard, &c. We 
could not learn whether they had any cabbages. We 
frequently explained to them what kind of plant it was, 
and even made them a drawing of one, but they always 
said that they had nothing like it growing in Japan. 
Except melons and water-melons, the Japanese eat no 
vegetables raw, and were much surprised when they saw us 
eat raw cucumbers with salt and vinegar. They mix their 
mustard with vinegar and eat it with fish. 

They have also large quantities of red, or cayenne 
pepper, and poppies. They eat the pepper raw, with 
various dishes, or boil it in sugar, and use it as a preserve. 
They mix the poppy with sugar or treacle, and eat it with 
a paste made of pounded rice. They use poppy-oil in 
frpng fish and in dressing vaHous dishes. 

Among the vegetable productions used by the Japanese 
for food, are sugar-cane, black and red currents, bird 
cherry (Prunus Padus, Linn.), various herbs, fungi, sea- 
weed, and the berries of wild-roses, or hips, which 

* Round Nangasaky, many species of European vegetables are now 
cultivated. They have the red beet, carrots, fennel, dill, anise, parsley, 
asparagus, leeks, onions, turnips, black radishes, lettuces, succory, 
endive, &c. But it is curious, that even there, Thunberg does not 
enumerate cabbages. 


grow in abundance in the northern provinces of Japan. 
The Japanese use the latter as a medicine^ and eat 
them raw. 

The sugar-cane is rare in Japan^ and the sugar which 
it yields is black, and not very sweet The want of land 
for the cultivation of more necessary plants, probably 
hinders the Japanese from cultivating the cane, which is 
merely an article of luxury * 

The Japanese salt currants and bird cherries, and eat 
them as salad ; pickled mushrooms are considered a great 
delicacy; they are boiled in soups, salted, or laid in 

With respect to sea-weed, it not only furnishes food to 
millions of people in Japan, but it is also an article of 
commerce. The Japanese dry it, and then use it in soup; 
or it is wrapped round fish, and both are boiled and eaten 
together. Sea-weed is often broiled over the fire, salt is 
strewed on it, and it is eaten without any further dressing. 
This weed is chiefly used by poor people; but the rich 
frequently eat it dressed in a difierent manner, and even 
the Emperor^s kitchen is furnished with it. 

The domestic animals of the Japanese, besides horses 
and oxen, are swine, dogs and cats. The first are used 
as food by those sects that are permitted to eat meat. 
The dogs are employed in the chase, and to guard the 
houses, and the cats perform the same services as in 
Europe, though a writer upon Japan says, that the 
Japanese cats do not catch mice. This is, however, 
untrue. A Japanese male cat, which we had, understood 
his business perfectly, and was not inferior to any of his 

* Sugar, in a soft state, generally forms part of the imports by the 
Dutch ships. 


European brethren. I may also observe, that he often ^ 
amused us in prison by his tricks ; and as he was a great 
favourite with us, he was never in want of food; yet 
instinct prompted him to catch rats and mice. 

Chickens and ducks are the only domestic fowl that the 
Japanese use (though but seldom) as food. Though it s 
permitted in some sects, yet from attachment to these 
animals they do not like to kill them. If one of us were 
ill, and the Japanese wished to make some chicken broth, 
as they had heard that it was usually given to the sick in 
Europe, they had great difficulty in finding any one who 
would sell them a fowl for that purpose, though they 
oflTered a high price for one. 

The Japanese are fond of eggs ; they boil them hard, 
and eat them for dessert like fruit, frequently with , 
oranges. For us, they boiled them in soup with veg^ | 
tables. For people of distinction, fowls are kept in rooms, 
where they lay their eggs and are fed on rice.* Great 
people would not eat the eggs of fowls that run about at 
their will, and pick up what they can find. Many keep 
also swans, geese, and turkeys, but merely for pleasure, 
as we do peacocks, which they also have. 

Some wild quadrupeds are used by the Japanese for 
various purposes : wild boars, bears, deer, hares and wild 
goats. Those sects which are allowed to eat meat u6e 
them for food ; and in the northern parts of Japan, 
where the winters are very cold, the poor people use bear- 
skins as quilts. The rich have travelling bags, or cases, 
made of these skins to put over things which they desire 
to protect against bad weather, such as trunks with 
clothes, bottle cases, and the like. 

* Among their fowls they have also the guinea fowl. 


The gall of the bear is made into a solid mass^ and 
Dsed as a strengthening medicine^ for weakness in the 
stomachy and other disorders. It is highly valued by the 
Japanese for its medicinal virtue, and paid for at a high 
price. They affirm, that the gall of those bears which 
are killed in the Island of Niphon is far more efficacious 
tiiau that of the bears of Matsmai ; the latter are there- 
fiwe less esteemed. The method of using this remedy is 
very simple ; it is to bite off little pieces and swallow 

Of deer-skins the Japanese manufacture a kind of thick 
and fine chamois leather. 

Of useful insects they have silk-worms and bees. 
The honey which the latter produce is employed only in 
Skedicine, and the wax used only by apothecaries for 

In the third and kst division of the productions of 
Japan, I reckon those from which the inhabitants derive 
little or DO advantage. Among them I may mention coals, 
which are abundant in Japan, but not used. 

Raspberries, wild and gardfen strawberries, which we 
esteem so highly in Europe, are not eaten by the Japanese, 
who consider them unwholesome. These fruits, however, 
are really not at all pleasant in Japan ; they are, indeed, 
B6 large as ours, and of a dark red colour, but they are 
not sweet, very watery, and almost without fragrance. 

The principal wild quadrupeds found in Japan, are 
bears, panthers, leopards, wolves, wild dogs and foxes. 
Many superstitious Japanese ascribe to the last the power 
of Satan. In the southern and middle provinces of the 
empire, there are monkeys of a small race ; in the island 
of Matsmai there are sables, but their fur is reddish, and 


therefore does not bear a high price. Elephants, tigers, 
lions, camels, apes; greyhounds, pointers, setters, and 
other species of dogs, are known to the Japanese only 
from drawings. 

There are numerous kinds of birds of prey in Japan ; 
such as eagles^ falcons, hawks, kites, &c. Of wild fowl^ 
the sects that may eat meat use geese and ducks for food. 
Swans and cranes are held sacred, and nobody dares to 
kill them. Of singing-birds, we saw in cages, starlings, 
bdU-finches and green-finches; but no others. The 
Japanese are fond of singing-birds in their houses, and 
there are shops where they are sold. 

More common birds, such as cuckoos, ravens, crows, 
sparrows, &c., are as numerous in the north of Japan and 
Matsmai as with us. Parrots and canary birds are not 
found in Japan: on the coasts there is abundance of 
sea-fowl, such as albatrosses, cormorants, various species 
of gulls, Greenland pigeons, &c. 

This is all that I am able to state respecting the 
natural productions of Japan. 

In speaking of the manufactures of that empire, those 
of silk, steel, porcelain and lackered goods must have 
the first place. 

The silk manufactories are important, not only on 
account of the quantity, but also the good quality of the 
articles they produce. The Japanese make several kinds 
of stufi's and costly articles, which are not at all inferior 
to those of China. 

With respect to steel manufactures, the Japanese 
sabres and daggers surpass all others in the world, those 
of Damascus perhaps excepted. The Japanese are ex- 
tremely skilful in polishing steel, and all other metals; 


they make metal mirrors, which are scarcely inferior to 
lookiag-glasses. We often saw carpenters' and cabinet- 
makers' tools, of Japanese manufacture, which might 
almost be compared with the English. Their saws are 
80 good that the thinnest boards may be sawn out of the 
hardest wood. 

That the Japanese lackered goods surpass those of other 
nations, is a fact universally admitted. 

The Japanese porcelain is far superior to the Chinese ; 
but it is dearer, and manufactured in such small quantit .^s 
that it is insufficient for the consumption of Japan itself; 
80 that a great deal of porcelain is imported from China. 
The Japanese have also a more ordinary porcelain and 
earthenware, but they are both coarse and clumsy ; it is 
only on the best porcelain that they employ much time 
and labour. 

The cotton manufactories must be extremely numerous, 
from the universal use of cotton stuffs, but the Japanese 
want either skill or inclination to manufacture good articles 
out of cotton : at least we never saw anything remark- 
able in this kind of manufacture. When they saw our 
India muslin cravats, they would not believe that they 
were made of cotton. 

In the working of metals the Japanese are extremely 
skilful, particularly in the manufacture of copper utensils. 
They understand the art of casting metal statues. They 
also carve figures in stone and wood ; but, judging from 
the idols which we saw in the temples at Matsmai, these 
arts are very imperfect among them. In painting,* 

* Their taste in painting is very singular ; and in their own peculiar 
style, they may be said to excel. Their pencilling is very delicate. They 


engraving, and printing, they are far behind even the 
nations of Europe among whom these arts are still in their 
infancy. In carving, they are tolerably skilful ; and their 
gold, silver, and copper coins, are well executed. They 
pursue various handicrafts with success. They have great 
distilleries, in which they distil, from rice, their brandy 
(called Sotschio), and their wine (Sagi). They have also 
tobacco manufactories, iron-works, &c. Thousands of 
persons are employed in the manufacture of straw-shoes, 
hats, and mats. The manufactories are spread over the 
whole kingdom, but the principal ones are in the cities of 
Kio, Yeddo, and Osaga. 

The Japanese pursue, with equal diligence, varioiui 
other employments, that of fishing particular. They catch 
animals of various kinds in traps, but they shoot still 
more; they use dogs merely to trace them. They take 
birds in nets, as well as by shooting. A particular 
method is employed to catch small birds ; they make of 
tar, or the sap of a tree, a thick and clammy paste with 
which they smear the trunks of fallen trees, and strew rice 
around. The rice tempts the birds, which stick to the 
trees, and are thus caught in flocks. 

In Japan, as xn all nations, there are numbers of idlers 
who ramble about the streets and pubhc houses, and 
seek their livelihood by jugglers^ tricks and begging. 
The following method by which idle people, especially 
women, gain money, deserves particular mention. They 
catch a number of snakes, of diflferent sizes and colours, 
from which they skilfully extract the venom. Then they 

pay very little attention to portrait painting, confining themseWes 
generally to birds, flowers, and the like. 


strip themselves nearly naked^ and wind the snakes round 
th^ arms^ legs^ and other parts of their bodies. In this 
manner they seem to be enveloped in a kind of motley 
costimie^ formed of hissing serpents' heads; and thru 
arrayed^ they ramble about the streets, singing, dancing, 
and playing antics to obtain money. 

Japan may certainly be called a commercial state, if 
extensive internal trade alone may give a claim to this 
title. All the principalities and provinces of this 
populous empire, maintain commercial intercourse with 
each other. The extraordinary diversity of climate 
produces in the different provinces a great variety of 
articles, which all mutually want. Necessity, joined to 
the industry and activity of the people, render useful all 
the productions of nature and art ; so that the inhabitants 
of the whole empire carry on a commercial intercourse 
with each other, both by land and by water. The latter 
is the most common mode of conveyance. The sea along 
the coasts, and the navigable rivers, are covered with 
thousands of vessels, which convey goods to all parts of 
the empire. 

Though their navigation is wholly confined to the 
coasts, and their vessels quite unfit for long voyages, 
they are, nevertheless, well adapted to the purposes 
in which they are employed. Many of them are above 
one hundred feet long, and uncommonly broad. The 
fergest Japanese ships are from sixteen to twenty thou- 
sand poods burthen. 

The Japanese have many useful regulations and insti- 
tutions for the safety of navigation; such as pilots in 
every port, to conduct the ships in and out, and to foretell 
the weather according to certain signs. In dangerous 

V OL. II. N 


parts of the coasts people are employed to keep np fires, 
upon eminences^ marks are set np for the directicm of 
mariners^ &c. For the conveyance of merchandize by 
land^ where it cannot be effected by water, good roads and 
bridges are constructed. Matsmai is merely a Japanese 
colony; yet, notwithstanding its high mountains and 
precipices, rapid torrents, and the rudeness of its cli- 
mate, the roads are in admirably good condition. In the 
open country, far from the towns, we saw well-built 

The commercial spirit of the Japanese is visible in all their 
towDS and villages. In almost every house there is a shop, 
stocked with goods more or less valuable ; and, as we fre- 
quently see in England the magnificent window of a jeweller 
next door to an oyster shop, so we see here a rich silk 
merchant and a mender of straw-shoes carrying on their 
business close to each other. In their regard to order, the 
Japanese very much resemble the English; they love 
cleanliness and regularity. All goods have in Japan, as 
in England, little printed bills, on which are noted the 
price, the use, and the name of the article, the name of 
maker, or manufactory, and often a few words of recom- 
mendation. Even tobacco, pomatum, tooth-powder and 
other trifles, are wrapped up in papers, on which a notice 
of the quality and the price is printed. In packing up 
goods, they observe the same order as in Europe. Rice 
and other grain are packed in sa6ks made of straw. 
They have no casks for liquids, but they keep their 

* The bridges in the southern district are constructed in good style, 
and are furnished with balustrades. The largest in the empire is at 
Mickawa ; it is built of wood. Where there are no bridges, fords are 
always pointed out, with proper guides for passing them. 


sotschio^ sagi^ soja^ &c.^ in tubs which hold three or 
four pailsful. These tubs have only wooden hoops, 
and are broader at top than at bottom. The best kind 
of sagi is kept in large earthen jars. Manufactured stuffs 
of all kinds are packed up in chests, like tea. Silk goods 
are folded in whole pieces, and laid in separate chests, 
made of very thin boards, having inscriptions indicating 
the article, the name of the maker, the measure and the 

In every port there is a custom-house for superin- 
tending the loading and unloading of goods, watching 
that nothing is privately imported or exported, levying 
duties, &c. The duty, for almost all goods imported is 
paid by the merchants into the treasury of the Emperor 
or of tTie princes, according as the port may be in 
the imperial dominions or in one of the principali- 
ties. The superintendence of the ships in port is under 
the controul of an officer, whose functions nearly cor- 
respond with those of our harbour-masters; they are 
abo superintendents of the pilots. Before we were 
released from Japan, we Uved, at Chakodade, in the house 
of a harbour-master : we observed that a great many 
seamen and other persons came to him every morning, 
whence we inferred, that his post was not inconsiderable. 

For the advantage of the merchants, and to facilitate 
trade, the government publishes a kind of commercial 
gazette, containing the prices of goods in different pai-ts 
of the empire. In the same manner the pubhc is informed 
by little billets of the state of the rice crop and other pro- 
ductions in the various provinces ; nay, from the time that 
the crops begin to shoot, until-the harvest, the people are 
informed from time to time of their condition. 

N 2 


In order to give extension to trade over the whole em- 
pire, and to afford merchants greater resources and facili- 
ties, the Japanese have introduced bills of exchange and 
promissory notes, like those circulated in the European 
states, under the protection of the laws. In one of the 
southern principalities of Japan, there are bank notes, 
which circulate as money. There are three kinds of coin 
in Japan : gold, silver, and copper. The latter are round, 
with holes in the middle, by which they are put upon a 
string, instead of being carried in a purse. This money 
is called by the Japanese mon. When they saw our 
Russian copecs, they compared them with this coin, and 
found that four Japanese mons made one copec. The 
gold and silver coins are oblong, quadrangular, and 
thicker than a Russian imj^erial. The name, value, date 
of the year, and name of the maker, are stamped on 
each. As I had no opportunity of ascertaining either 
the standard of the metal, or the weight, I cannot com- 
pare them with our coinage. 

The greatest trade by land is carried on in the city of 
Kio, the residence of the spiritual emperor. This city 
does not lie on the sea, but is very populous, and has 
manufactories of all kinds ; it is, therefore, visited by 
merchants from all parts of the empire, who cannot 
convey their own goods thither, or bring away what they 
purchase, except by land. Of all the maritime cities, 
Yeddo (the residence of the temporal emperor) and Osaga, 
carry on the greatest trade. Osaga, the most beautiful 
city in Japan, is situated at the distance of five hundred 
wersts south of Yeddo. There are, besides, in almost 
every principality that borders on the sea, considerable 
commercial cities. 


It is well known in Europe how great are the restric- 
tions on trade with foreigners in Japan. The cause of 
this is, probably, the distrust of the Japanese Government 
in Europeans, and their bad opinion of them. Whether 
the Japanese Government judges rightly or not, I leave 
others to decide, and will merely observe, that the mass 
of the people in Japan wish to trade with foreigners, par- 
ticularly Europeans. The more enlightened portion of 
the Japanese, however, reason as follows: *^The people 
are blind, as far as regards the government of this king- 
dom, and only know superficially, what most nearly con- 
cerns them ; they cannot see two steps before them, and 
therefore might easily fall down a precipice, unless they 
were guided by persons who can see. Thus the Japanese, 
without considering the bad consequences which might 
result from an intercourse with foreigners, see only the 
personal advantage which they might derive from trading 
with them/' 

Until the attempts made by Europeans to introduce 
the Christian religion into Japan, that empire carried on 
extensive commerce with all parts of the Ea^t. Japanese 
ships sailed, not only to China and the Indian Islands, 
but even to the continent of India, which the Japanese 
, call Tendzigu. But the Christian religion^ or rather the 
Catholic preachers of it, inspired the people with such 
terror, that the government, after the extirpation of 
Christianity two centuries ago, fo)*bade natives of Japan, 
under pain of death, to travel to foreign countries, and 
did not allow foreigners to come to Japan, except with 
great precautions, and in small numbers. Japanese 
ships can now only trade to Corea, and the Loo-Choo 
Islands, the natives of those countries being considered, 
in some measure, as Japanese subjects, because they pay 


tribute. None but Corean, Loo-Choo, and Japanese ships 
are admitted in Japan^ and those only in small numbers. 
Of Europeans, only the Dutch have a right to trade with 
the Japanese, but on such hard terms, that the Dutch, in 
Japan, more resemble prisoners than free men engaged 
in commercial intercourse with a friendly power.* 

The Chinese supply the Japanese with rice, porcelain^ 
wrought and unwrought ivory, nankeen, moist sugar, 
ginseng root,t medicinal herbs, alum, and divers trifles, 
such as fans, tobacco-pipes, &c. They receive from the 
Japanese, in return, copper, varnish, lackered goods, 
salted and dried fish, sea-weed, and some Japanese manu* 

From the Dutch, the Japanese receive sugar, spices, 
ivory, iron, medicines, saltpetre, alum, some sorts of 
colours, cloth, glass, and other European articles, such as 
watches, looking-glasses, mathematical instruments, &c. 
They give in return, copper, varnish, rice, and some of 
their manufactures, such as lackered articles, porcelain, 
&c. I heard that the Dutch carry on a very advan- 

* When the Portuguese (the first Europeans who visited Japan, in the 
middle of the sixteenth century) hegan to trade with the natives, they 
enjoyed extraordinary privileges. They had the right to import into , 
Japan whatever goods they pleased, and to sell them at their own prices in 
all parts of the empire. But the pride and rapacity of the Portuguese, and 
particularly the eagerness cf the Catholic priests in making proselytes, 
oflfended the Japanese Government, and laid the foundation of distrust 
in all Europeans, except in the Dutch, whom they call their friends, 
because, it appears, they consider the natives of Holland as the most 
honest among European nations. 

t Ginseng (Dschin sen), or the Chinese root, is much valued in China 
and Japan, where it is sold at a high price, because it is supposed to 
possess the property of renewing or strengthening the physical powers of 
the human frame. 


tageous trade in Japanese goods in the Malay and Mo- 
lucca Islands. 

The harbour of Nangasaky^ in the south of Japan, is 
the only one that is open to the Chinese, as well as to the 
Dutch. All other ports are shut against them ; and one 
and the same system is uniformly observed by the Japa- 
nese in their trade, or rather barter, with the Chinese and 
Dutch. When a ship enters the harbour of Nangasaky, 
after the usual ceremonies and questions, the goods are 
landed. Then the imperial officers (for the foreign trade 
is a monopoly in the hands of the Emperor) examine the 
quality and quantity of the goods, consult together, and 
fix the price of those articles which the owners of the 
ship desire to have in return. The latter must either 
accede to the terms of the Japanese, or take back the 
goods ; for all bargaining is impossible. In this manner, 
the Emperor buys foreign goods through the medium of 
his commissioners, and disposes of them wholesale to the 
Japanese merchants, who sell them by retail. Judging 
from the high prices which are paid in Japan for Dutch 
goods, it may be supposed either that the Dutch are 
remunerated exorbitantly, or that the Emperor and his 
merchants fix extravagantly high prices : probably both 
are gainers. 




Population and military force — Infanticide — Prevalence of blindness — 
Extent .of the metropolis of Japan — Arms, uniform, and paj or 
soldiers, officers, &c. — Imperfect construction of ships — Skill of 
Japanese sailors. 

During the space of two eentnries^ Japan has had 
no wars either abroad or at home, with the exception of 
some internal disturbances. Epidemics, and infectious 
diseases, with a few exceptions, are unknown to the Japa- 
nese : they are therefore strangers to those evils which 
check the increase of population in other countries, and 
are especially happy that the great destroyer of the 
human race, war, does not brandish among them his 
desolating torch. A country enjoying a healthy climate 
and uninterrupted peace, must be populous. Japan is so. 
It was, however, impossible for me to learn the real 
amount of the population of Japan ; for the Japanese them- 
selves could not even inform me whether the government 
had authentic accounts of the number of the inhabitants. 
They considered it would be extremely difficult, if not 
impossible, to obtain any census ; because many millions of 
the poorer people have no fixed abodes, and live in the 
open air, in the streets^ in the fields^ or the woods. To give 


US ah idea of the population of their couutry^ the acade- 
mician and the interpreter, Teske, showed us a map of 
Japan, which was drawn upon a very large sheet of 
paper. On this map were marked, not only all the towns, 
but also the villages, so that the paper was almost totally 
covered with the names written on it. They showed on 
the road from Mimai to Yeddo, a place which they call 
a desert, or steppe, because a neighbouring river, after 
heavy rains, overflows that spot, and renders it unfit for 
cultivation. This desert is considered immense, because 
the litter bearers, who carry travellers, when they set out 
in the morning, meet with no village till noon, and when 
they have rested, have to travel on again through the 
desert till sunset. A barren place about eighteen wersts 
in extent the Japanese call a desert ! 

. They also showed us a plan of the capital, and told us 
that a man could not walk in one day from one end of it 
to the other. When we made inquiries respecting its 
|>opulation, we were informed that it contained upwards 
of ten millions of inhabitants. Our Japanese friends were 
very angry when we expressed doubts of this fact, and the 
next day a paper came from an official person, who had 
been employed in the police in Yeddo, This paper stated, 
that the city of Yeddo has in its principal streets,* two 
hundred and eighty thousand houses, and in each of them 
there live from thirty to forty people. Supposing there were 
only thii;ty, the number of the inhabitants must amount 
to eight millions four hundered thousand. If to these be 
added the inhabitants of the small houses and huts, persons 

* In Japanese ** Sodo-ie,'' that is to say, house, the front of which 
is to the street. These houses are distinguished from the small houses 
and hats, which are not in the street, but lie scattered about in other 
psrts of the city. 


who live m the open air, the Imperial guard, the guard of 
the princes in the capital, their suites, &c., the number 
of the inhabitants must exceed ten millions. In con- 
firmation of their statements, the Japanese mentioned 
that Yeddo alone contained thirty-six thousand blind 
people.* To this we could say nothing ; neither allowing 
the Japanese to be in the right, nor contradicting their 

These data may however be very correct, for according 
to the plan of the city, and considering the narrowness of 
the streets, Yeddo may be computed to contain ten mil- 
lions of people : its greatest diameter is more than eight 
Japanese Ei, or thirty-two to thirty-five wersts. Teske 
assured us that the city, notwithstanding its immense 
size, was continually extending, and he mentioned as a 

* Among the many singular institutions in Japan, is the class or order 
of the blind. Blind persons, to whatever part of the empire they may 
belong, are united in a society, which has its privil^es, laws, and a 
governor, whom they call Prince. The assistants, treasurers, &c., are all 
blind. The members of this society employ themselves, according to their 
abilities, in various works, which they sell, and they deliver to their Prince 
> the money obtained for them. This money is placed in a general 
treasury, and is employed according to the rules of the society. Many 
blind men are physicians, and prescribe for varioijis diseases, which the 
Japanese cure by means of baths ; others are musicians. It is related 
that this society owes its foundation to a Japanese general, who during 
the civil wars lost his prince and benefactor, and was made prisoner by - 
his adversary. The victor loaded this general with favours, and at laat 
asked him if he would serve hina. The general answered, that he was 
fuUy sensible of his goodness, but as he had murdered his former master 
and benefector, he not only would not serve him, for that he could not 
even look at him without feeling an ardent desire to* commit the same 
crime again. He was therefore resolved to deprive himself of the means 
of doing so ; and at these words tore his eyes out of his head, and 
threw them at the feet of his victor. After the death of this hero, his 
friends instituted the order of the blind, which stiU exists. 


confiriDation of this, that during his stay in the capital, 
he lived with a merchant who dealt in stones, for founda- 
tions, and that he had a considerable demand for them ; 
but as the frequent fires in Yeddo cannot destroy the 
stones, they w^re without doubt bought for new buildings. 
The prodigious population of Japan frequently causes poor 
people to destroy their children, at the period of their 
birth, when they are weakly and deformed. The laws 
prohibit those murders under severe penalties; but the 
government never inquires rigorously as to the way in 
which the children have died, perhaps from political mo- 
tives. Thus crimes of this kind are committed without 
the perpetrators being called to account. 

A country in a state of peace cannot be expected to 
make progress in matters connected with the art of war. 
This is especially the case with Japan, where the laws 
forbid the introduction of foreign inventions and improve- 
ments. In fact it requires at least a century to introduce 
an innovation into their military system of the Japanese ; 
a strict observance of ancient rules is the spirit of their 
unalterable tactics. 

I have already mentioned that the military profession 
is hereditary in Japan. Every man, upon entering the 
service, is obliged to take an oath to the Emperor, which 
he signs in his own blood, drawn from the right hand. If 
]»x>moted he has no need to take new oaths. There are 
m Japan, soldiers belonging to the Emperor, and others 
belonging to the princes. Every prince is bound to 
maintain a certain number of troops, and to employ them 
dJt the pleasure of the Emperor, We could not learn the 
strength of the Japanese military force : for in truth, we 
avoided carrying our curiosity too far, lest, by obtaining 
any extensive knowledge of Japan^ we should be doomed 


to pass the whole of our Kves in a Japanese prison ; for 
an unfavourable construction might have been put on our 
numerous questions. The distrust of the Japanese Go- 
vernment, with respect to Europeans in general^ manifests 
itself particularly towards the Russians, as being frontier 

The Japanese military forces consist of artillery, in- 
fantry, and cavalry. We did not see the last, but were 
informed that the best men were selected for it. They 
have rich dresses and fine horses, and are armed with 
sabres, pikes and pistols. 

The Japanese artillery is still extremely imperfect. 
The cannon cast in Japan are of copper; and in pro- 
portion to the calibre, uncommonly thick. The breech 
is unscrewed, in order to load. The Japanese, therefore, 
load their cannon very slowly, and do not fire until all the 
artillerymen have retired to some distance ; one of them 
then discharges the gun with a long linstock. The Japa- 
nese have no cannon of large calibre ; they have, however, 
some Dutch eighteen and twenty-four pounders; one of 
which we saw upon a battery near Chakodade. They use 
besides, small falconets, which however are extremely 
heavy, on account of their thickness ; their carriages are 
very bad, and so heavy that they cannot be moved but 
with the greatest difficulty. The Japanese have their own 
powder, which consists of the same ingredients as ours, 
but whether in the same proportions I cannot tell. I 
conjectulre that they put too much charcoal in it, for the 
smoke is extremely thick and black. We had no oppor- 
tunity to see any Japanese fireworks; but according to 
, their accoimts, they are very skilful in managing them. 
They gave us a description of some of their efiects* 

The Japanese infantry are armed with muskets, arrows. 


and pikes; the sabre and the dagger are the weapons of 
every soldier. Their muskets and pistols have copper 
barrels, which are very heavy. The butt ends are small, 
and they do not put them to their shoulder when they 
fire, but lay them to their right cheek, and so take aim. 
Instead of a flint there" is a match to the lock, which 
is Ughted when necessary ; but as, in loading the piece, 
it is requisite to be extremely careful that the powder in 
the pan may not ignite too soon, the operation of loading 
is very slow. The Japanese are more dexterous in the 
management of bows and arrows. Their pikes are fast- 
ened to long poles, and are very heavy and inconvenient. 

The ordinary or undress uniform of the Japanese sol- 
diers consists in a short coat called the chauri, which 
they wear over their ordinary clothes without a girdle. 
The imperial soldiers have black silk chauri, with white 
embroidery on the breast and back. The soldiers of all 
the reigning princes have particular uniforms of cotton. 
The soldiers of the Prince of Nambu have light-blue 
chauri, with a white cross on the back ; and those of the 
Prince of Tzyngaru, black chauri, with a white square. 

The state or holiday dress of the soldiers is very costly : 
it consists of white trousers, and a short upper garment, 
like a cloak or hood, both made of fine silk, and em- 
broidered with gold, silver, or silk. These dresses are of 
different colours. They are preserved in the imperial 
arsenals, and delivered to the soldiers when necessary. 
When the * Diana ^ lay in the harbour of Chakodade, all 
the soldiers in the city wore their state dresses. 

The full military uniform of the Japanese soldiers con- 
sists of short, wide trousers and a jacket, over which they 
have armour upon the breast, back and arms. Even the 
thighs, from the waist down to the knee, are cased in 


armour. Over this armour they wear the chauri^ but not 1 

when in battle. On their heads they wear large lackered 
hats, which, like the armour, are of metal. The Japanese 
also use visors to protect the face. Their military dress 
is, on the whole, heavy, and calculated to impede rapid 

The soldiers receive their pay in rice, except in the 
islands of Matsmai, Kunashier, Eetooroop, and Saga- 
leen, where part of their pay is in rice and part in money. 
They generally sell the greater portion of the rice, in 
order to provide themselves with other necessaries. The 
soldiers of the princes are better paid than those of the 
Emperor ; but the latter have several privileges. 

I do not know whether it is a constant practice in 
Japan ; but during our residence in the Island of Mats- 
mai, the soldiers were frequently exercised in firing, both 
with cannon and small arms ; and he who hit the mark 
twice running, received a reward. The Japanese assured us 
that this was their constant rule. I am rather inclined 
to think that they were at that time preparing for war, 
for as they had taken \is prisoners by treachery, they . 
could not but expect that Russia would call them to 
accou4t in some way or other. 

There are no permanent generals in Japan, When a 
war breaks out, the Emperor appoints the principal com- 
manders, and the princes name the others. This was the 
custom in Russia, till the introduction of regular troops. 
The Japanese commanders are called by the general name 
of Taischo, with the addition of other titles, to distinguish 
their rank and authority. The chief commanders are 
generally princes ; the others are chosen from among the 
nobility, and persons holding civil appointments. 

In engineerine:, the Japanese are as inexperienced, as , 


in other branches of the military art. The fortresses and 
batteries, which we saw, were constructed in a manner 
which shows that they understand nothing of the rules of 
fortification. The battery which is designed to defend 
the entrance of the harbour of Chakodade, is mounted 
with cannon of very small calibre, and is situated upon a 
mountain one himdred and fifty fathoms high, nearly 
perpendicular, and besides pretty far from the shore. 
In making this battery the engineers seem not to have 
so much intended the defence of the harbour as of the 

Before the close of the sixteenth century, when the 
Japanese Government forbade its subjects to visit foreign 
countries, the Japanese had a fleet. Their ships were 
large, furnished with but a few guns, and capable of 
containing many ^rmed men. Their build was not at all 
adapted to the ocean, and their rigging was still Worse. 
They had, as is still the custom on board merchant ships, 
only one great mast and an immense sail. Japan has now 
no ships of war, except some- yachts belonging to the 
reigning princes. Merchant ships are not permitted to 
carry any cannon ; this privilege is confined to the Em- 
peror^s ships, which alone are allowed to be painted red. 

If the Japanese Government desired to have a navy, 
it would be very easy to form one upon the European 
system, and to bring it to the greatest perfection. It 
would be only necessary to invite to Japan two or three 
good ship-builders, and some naval oflScers. They have 
good ports, all the necessary materials, a number of able 
carpenters, and very active and enterprising sailors. The 
people in general are quick of comprehension, and ready 
at learning. Japanese mariners, trained in the European 


manner^ would soon make the fleets of Japan able to ^ 
contend with those of Europe. It requires no little 
courage to put to sea in sucK vessels as they now have : if 
a storm drives them from the coast^ the rudder and the 
mast infallibly break, and the vessel is then at the mercy 
of the winds and waves. The winds prevalent in those 
seas blow either from the Japanese coast, or in a direction 
parallel with it. In these desperate cases, therefore, 
mariners can only expect either to perish at sea, or to be 
wrecked on a strange coast. If any one escapes, he can 
hardly hope to see his native country again, as no other 
has any intercourse with it. In this manner Japanese 
ships have been wrecked on the coasts of Kamtschatka, 
and on the Aleutian and Eurile Islands ; and it is probable I 
that many more have perished at sea. We were frequently 
witnesses of the activity of the Japanese sailors; it is 
wonderful with what dexterity they manage their great 
boats in the violent surf, and in the most rapid currents 
at the mouths of rivers, and where the effects of the ebb 
and flood are greatest. From such sailors everything may 
be expected. They are well paid for their dangerous and 
laborious service. 



Kations paying tribute to Japan and its colonies — Origin of the Kuriles — 
Their language and religion — Food and customs — Domestic manners. 

About two centuries ago, tbe Coreans* and the inhabi- 
tants of the Loo-Choo Islandsf were conquered by the 
Japanese, who subjected them to their authority, and 
obliged them to pay a tribute, which the emperors of 
Japan now receive annually. This tribute is, according to 
the statement of the Japanese, very inconsiderable ; and is 
levied by the emperors, not so much on account of the 
profit, as to give evidence of their power. For this reason 
the heir of the throne of Corea must always live at the 
Japanese court, and serve as a hostage for the fidelity 
of that prince. He is treated well, and receives all the 
honour due to his rank. The Japanese have a fortress on 
tJie coast of Corea, with a numerous garrison, to watch the 
people, of whom they have the more distrust, because they 

* The Japanese call Corea by that name; the inhabitants they call 

t These islands are called, in Japan, Dschiu-ju-kiu. They lie to the 
south of Japan, in the 26° north latitude, and 128^*' east longitude from 



are at the same time subject to the Chinese Emperors, and 
pay tribute to them. To place themselves in full security 
with respect to the inhabitants of Corea, the Japanese keep 
a iBxge army always in readiness on an island situated be- 
tween Japan and the latter place. This island has, on its 
south-west side, a strongly fortified town and a good har- 
bour. It is governed by an Obunjo, who has the same rank 
as the governor of Matsmai : the Japanese fortress on the 
coast of Corea is also subject to him. Though the Em- 
perors of Japan do not derive much profit from the tribute 
paid by the Coreans, yet the trade of these people with 
Japan is very extensive. The Japanese receive from Corea 
medicines, sweet potatoes, ginseng-root, ivory, and various 
Chinese productions ; and they send in return, salt and 
dried fish, sheD-fish, sea-weed, and some of their manu- 

The inhabitants of the Loo-Choo Islands not only pay 
tribute to the Japanese Emperors, but they are even 
entirely subject to them. Though they have their own 
governor, their religion, and a high priest of their own, 
and are judged by their own laws, yet they cannot in* 
troduce any innovation, or form any connection with 
foreigners, without having received permission from the 
Japanese Emperors. 

The Japanese informed us that the Loo-Choo Islands 
are very populous, and occupy a pretty considerable 
space. The Loo-Chooans are well disposed, mild and 
timid, and are more like the Chinese than the Japanese. 
Their language has some resemblance to the Chinese. 
The islands produce many plants and vegetables which 
also grow in Japan and China. The Japanese send them 
metal wares, japanned goods, salt and dried fish, sea- 


weed, European goods, (which are brought to them by the 
Dutch,) and Chinese productions; and they receive in 
return tea, tobacco, silk, cotton, and some productions of 
their manufactures. 

The islands of Matsmai, Kunashier, Eetooroop, and 
Sagaleen, may be called Japanese colonies. About two 
centuries ago, a Japanese prince bought, from the natives 
of Matsmai, a portion of the south-west coast of that 
island. This part of the coast is still called the Japanese 
country. The other part of the island is called Ainu- 
kfiini, or the country of the Ainu, the name of the inhabi- 
tants of Matsmai. The abundance of fish found on the 
coast of Matsmai induced the Japanese to treat with the 
natives, and to enter into conventions for permission to 
establish fisheries on the coast ; in return for which they 
furnished them with some necessaries. In this manner 
did the Japanese spread by degrees over the whole island. 
The profit which they derived from this farming of 
the fisheries led them to trade with the islands Kuna- 
shier, Eetooroop, Ooroop, and others, as* also with the 
southern part of Sagaleen. The government farmed 
out this trade, in portions, to merchants; and in this 
manner the Japanese long maintained intercourse with 
those islands, without forming a settlement, or thinking 
on conquest. By chance they heard that the Russians 
ImA conquered iiie northern Kurile Islands, and had 
extended their possessions further south. The Japanese 
then resolved to make themselves masters of the south 
islands, that they might afterwards create no cause for 
war, or lose the fisheries, which were of so much conse- 
quence to them. The inhabitants, not knowing the real 
cause of these proceedings, attempted to resist them, but 

o 2 


were soon conquered^ and made subject to the Emperor of 
Japan. Since that time the Japanese have built fortresses 
on the iriands^ and furnished them with garrisons. The 
natives are subjects of the Emperor of Japan; but at 
the same time they enjoy many privileges. 

Several travellers doubt that the inhabitants of Matsmai^ 
and the other Kurile Islands^ were formerly one people ; 
and affirm that the Ainu and the Kuriles have not the 
least affinity to each other. I am of opinion that the 
inhabitants of all the Kurile Islands,* except some tribes . 
on the southern half of Matsmai, are one nation. The 
chain of islands, lyii^g between the south end of Kamts- 
chatka and Japan, was called the Kurile Islands by the 
Russians. Perceiving from the coast of Kamschatka, the 
smoking volcanoes which are on the islands, they gave 
• them the name of Kuriles, from the Russian word Kuril, 
to smoke. The natives have no name for the whole 
group, but merely names for each of the single islands. 
The Kuriles of all the islands, including Matsmai, call 
themselves Airiu, which signifies, in their language, 
man: to distinguish the inhabitants of the different 
islands, they add to this word the name of the island, as, 
for example, Kunaschiri-Ainu, Iturpu-Ainu, ; that is, 
men from Kunaschier, Eetooroop, &c. But when they 
saw foreigners for the first time, they seemed to doubt 
whether they were Ainu, that is to say, men ; for they did 
not give them that title, but called them after the name 
of their respective countries; as Rusko, Russians; and 
Niponno, Japanese ; for they know only those two nations. 

* I reekon Matsmai among the Kurile Islands ; it is the twenty.second» 
and last from Kamtschatka. 


The inhabitants of all the Kurile Islands^ except some tribes 
on the south part of Matsmai^ speak one language^ with 
the exception of such words and names of things as the 
northern Kuriles first got from the Russians, and those of 
the south from the Japanese ; for with the use ol these 
things the former introduced the Russian, and the latter 
the Japanese names. With respect to the inhabitants of 
the southern half of Matsmai, it is observed, that though 
there are many foreign, particularly Japanese,. words in 
use in their language, it was originally Kurile. Alexei, 
the Kurile, our companion in imprisonment, frequently 
conversed with them and though he had difficulty in 
xmderstanding them, yet it never happened that he did 
not comprehend them, after some explanation ; in a word, 
the languages of the inhabitants of Matsmai, and of the 
other Kurile Islands, resemble each other much more than 
the Russian and Polish. The persond appearance of the in- 
habitants of Matsmai, and of the other Kurile Islands, shows 
clearly that they are of one and the same race : the features, 
the uncommonly brown colour of the hairy body,* the 
black shining hair, the beard, everything, in short, indicates 
a common origin. The only difference between them now, 
is, that the Ainu of Matsmai are handsomer, stronger, 
and more active than the Kuriles. The former have pro- 
bably benefitted by a more active life and abundance of 
good food ; for the Japanese, who have traded with them 
for four centuries, bring them not only rice, but even 

* The Russians call the inhabitants of the northern islands Kuriles, 
and those of the southern, Hairy Kuriles, because the bodies of the latter 
are covered with hair. Yet the northern Kuriles are not less hairy than 
the southern. Our Alexei, who was born in one of the northern islands, 
was more hairy than many inhabitants of Matsmiu. 


articles of luxury, such as tobacco, sagi, &c. The other 
Kuriles, particularly those of the northern islands, live in 
indigence, feed on roots, sea animals and wild fowl, of 
which they indeed never are in want ; but idleness often 
hinders them from collecting a proper stock of provisions, 
so that sometimes they pass several days without food, in 
indolence and sleep. Even their manners show that the 
Ainu and Kuriles are one people. 

The Kuriles dependant upon Russia are baptized, 
but they have no other idea of religion than that th^ 
must cross themselves in the presence of the Russians, 
and bow before the images of the Saints, which they, at 
other times, probably throw aside, with the crosses, or 
give them to their children to play with. If they see any 
Russians, they put on their crosses, and give the images 
the place of honour in their huts. It can, besides, neither 
be required nor expected that they should be attached to a 
foreign religion, in which nobody instructs them. The 
priests visit them once a year, and that not always. They 
see hardly any Russians but Promyschlenniks (hunters) ; 
rude men, addicted to drinking, whose conduct and 
cruel treatment of them inspire no elevated opinion 
of their religion. Hence the Kuriles, though they pre- 
tend, in the presence of the Russians, to know no religion 
except Christianity, are still attached to their ancient faith. 
Our Kurile, Alexei, would not confess that his country- 
men do not highly honour the Christian religion. He 
merely said, that the old people consider the faith of their 
fathers to be the true religion ; and that it resembles the 
religion of the inhabitants of Matsmai. Our Kuriles 
wear Russian dresses of all fashions, as they receive them ; 
for the Ainu, on the other hand, the Japanese prepare' a 


certain dress^ shaped in the Japanese style^ and made of 
hempen eloth^ resembling our coarse unbleached sail- 
cloth. The elders have cotton and silk dresses. If one 
among them particularly distinguishes himself, the Japa- 
nese Government rewards him with a splendid dress, 
embroidered with gold and silver; or with a sabre in a 
silver scabbard. The Kuriles and Ainu love to ornament 
themselves with trifles; which the former receive from 
the Russians, and the latter from the Japanese ; but it is 
still the custom for the women to paint their lips and eye* 
brows blue. -Their expressions of civility, songs, dances, 
&c., show the common origin of the Kuriles and of the 

When the Japanese subdued the Ainu, they left the 
most important rights of man inviolate. They allowed 
the people the free exercise of the religion of their fore- 
fathers ; left them their own laws and government, their 
own dress and customs in social life. They allowed them 
to live in separate villages, ruled by chiefs chosen by 
themselves and confirmed by the Japanese officers. 

The Ainu live, in winter, in what are called Jurten, or 
huts of earth ; and in summer, in straw huts. They have 
no benches or seats, but sit on the ground, either on the 
grass or on Japanese mats. Their food consists of rice, 
(supplied by the Japanese) ; of fish, sea animals, sea- 
weed, wild herbs and roots. Many have gardens in the 
Jiq;)anese fashion ; others employ themselves in the chace : 
they kill, with their spears and arrows, bears, deer and 
hares. They catch birds, and also eat dogs. 

The Ainu are, in general, extremely uncleanly. They 
never wash their hands, faces, or bodies, except when they 
go into the water to do some kind of labour; and they 



never wash their clothes. In this particular^ therefore, 
they are very dilferent from the Japanese. 

Polygamy is allowed among them ; they have two or 
three wives^ and the elders a still greater number. K 
it happens that an elder governs several villages^ he has a 
wife in every village. Their children learn nothing except 
huntings fishings the use of the bow and arrow, and the 
necessary domestic labours. They have no writing, and 
consequently no written laws ; everything is handed down 
by tradition from one generation to another. 

The Japanese Government does not permit the Ainu 
to make use of powder and fire-arms ; their weapons, 
therefore, only consist of sabres, spears and arrows. 
They often dip their arrows into the poisonous juice 
of the ranunculus flammula; and then the wound is 
generally mortal. 

The sun and moon are their divinities; but they have 
neither temples nor priests, nor any religious law. They 
believe in two spirits ; the one good, and the other evil : 
they invoke the first by a bundle of pulse, which they 
hang up on the outside of their dwellings. 

The principal profit which the Japanese derive from 
their possessions in the southern Kurile Islands and 
Sagaleen, arises from the productive fishery. They 
catch on the coast, in great abundance, herrings, cod, 
mackarel, a variety of salmon, plaice, and many other 
kinds of fish, the names of which are unknown to me. 
Of the marine animals, there ^re whales, porpoises, 
sea-lions, sea-bears, sea-otters, and seals. Shell-fish and 
sea-weed are also gathered in great quantities. 

The forests of Matsmai, and of the other islands belong- 
ing to Japan, realize no small profit, and it must increase 


in future. These forests contain oaks, firs, yews, the tree 
called the scented tree (a kind of cypress), birch, lime, 
various kinds of poplars, maple, aspen, mountain- ash, 
and many other trees. 

Of quadrupeds, there are on these islands, and parti- 
cularly in Matsmai, bears, wolves, hares, rabbits, deer, 
wild-goats, sables, and field-mice. In summer, geese, 
ducks and swans visit them. In general, all the same 
sorts of land and sea-birds are found here as in 

The Japanese assured us that the mountains in Mats- 
mai contain gold, silver, and lead mines, but that the 
government did not think it worth while to work those 
containing gold and silver. The Japanese now get lead 
from a mine which lies to the west of the city of Matsmai, 
at the distance of eighteen ri (or seventy-five wersts). 

The Japanese call the island of Sagaleen, Karafta, be- 
cause it is so called by the natives. Till the arrival of 
La Perouse, the Japanese had no settlements on Sagaleen, 
and only visited it to trade with the inhabitants. But 
when that navigator appeared on the coast with two 
frigates, they, being afraid that the Europeans would 
settle there, then took possession of the south part of 
Sagaleen, and represented to the government of China 
the danger which threatened that country also, should 
Europeans ever become their neighbours. The two 
nations agreed to divide the island between them, and 
prevent the Europeans frx>m taking possession of it. 
Since that time, the north part has belonged to the 
Chinese, and the south to the Japanese. 

The climate, the productions of the soil, and the manu- 
factories of Sagaleen, are nearly the same as those of 


Matsmai; but at Sagaleen^ according to its geographical 
situation^ the winter is colder^ and the summer less 
favourable than in Matsmai. 

I find it impossible to state the population of Sagaleen 
and of the Kurile Islands subject to the Japanese^ 
because those natives with whom we were acquainted 
could furnish us with no information on the subject. 









With the circumstances of the capture and imprison- 
ment of Captain (xolownin and his unfortunate com- 
panions, the reader is abready acquainted. That extraor- 
dinary affair filled us with anxiety and dismay, and 
annihilated the hope of the speedy return to our country, 
with which we had flattered ourselves on leaving Kamts- 
chatka to survey the Kurile Islands. 

We had watched Captain Golownin and his escort 
with our telescopes, from the time they landed till they 
reached the gates of the fortress. We observed that, 
they were conducted thither by a great number of men, 
whom, from their brilliant and variously coloured dresses, 
we supposed to be Japanese officers of distinction. 

I entertained not the slightest suspicion of treachery 
on the part of the Japanese ; indeed, so blindly did I rely 
on their sincerity, that I even made festive preparations 
for the reception of strangers of consideration; as I 


thought it probable that our captain might invite some 
of the Japanese officers to come on board with him on his 
return. Towards noon, while these preparations were 
still in progress, we suddenly heard on shore the report 
of muskets and loud shouting. We saw a multitude 
of people rush out of the gates of the fortress, and run 
towards the boat in which Captain Golownin had landed. 
We could clearly distinguish through our telescopes that 
these people hurried forward without any order, and that 
they seized hold of the mast, the sail, the rudder, and all 
the rigging of the boat. We could also perceive them 
dragging one of the boat^s crew and the Kurile into the 
fortress through the gates, which were then shut upon 
them. In a few minutes, profound silence prevailed; 
the whole of the, buildings, down nearly to the water^s 
edge, were hung with striped cotton cloth; so that we 
were prevented from seeing what passed behind this cur- 
tain, and no one appeared in front of it. 
. Without a moment^s delay, I gave orders for weighing 
anchor, and stood in towards the town, expecting that the 
Japanese, on perceiving a sloop of war so near them, 
would perhaps abandon their intention, enter into nego- 
tiations, and deliver up our friends. But as the depth of 
the water suddenly diminished to two fathoms and a half, 
we were compelled to cast anchor at a tolerable distance 
from the shore ; near enough, indeed, to make our shot 
reach the works, but too far off to enable us to do them 
any serious injury. Whilst we were preparing for action, 
the Japanese opened their batteries on the heights, but 
their shot passed over us. We fired about one hundred 
and seventy guns, and observed that our shot reached the 
batteries, but without producing any important effect, as 


the whole works towards the sea were surrounded by a 
very thick earthen wall. We, however, sustained no 
injury from the enemy^s fire. Considering it, therefore, 
unnecessary to remain longer in this situation, we weighed 
anchor. . The Japanese then became bolder and fired away 
more spiritedly, in proportion as we receded from the 
town. As I had not a sufficient number of men to venture 
a landing, I could undertake nothing decisive for the 
deliverance of our companions. We were only fifty- 
one in number, including officers. All on board were 
exasperated in the highest degree by the perfidy of the 
Japanese, and we were all ready to storm the fortress 
and execute a dreadful retaliation. Animated by such feel- 
ings, we might easily have visited the enemy with serious 
consequences. But, then again, we reflected that the ship 
must have been left unprotected, and might have been 
set on fire ; in which case the failure or success of our 
attempt would never have been known in Russia. We, 
therefore, cast anchor without the range of the guns of the 
fortress, and determined on writing to our captain. In 
our letter we expressed our grief for his capture, and our 
indignation at the conduct of the commander of Kunashier, 
whose aggression was a direct infringement of the law of 
nations. We informed him that we would return imme- 
diately to Okotzk, to make known what had happened, 
but that we were at the same time all prepared to risk our 
lives for his dehverance. All the officers signed this 
letter, and it was deposited in the cask which had been 
placed near the harbour. Towards evening we moved 
farther from the shore, and held ourselves in readiness 
throughout the whole of the night, in case of an attack 
from the enemy. 


Next morning we perceived, by help of our teles- 
copes, that the Japanese were removing their property of 
every kind on packhorses, probably from an idea that we 
intended to set fire to the town. At eight o^clock in the 
morning, as senior officer, I assumed the command of the 
ship, and requested the officers to state in writing what 
they considered the best means to which we could resort 
for the deliverance of our countrymen. They all con- 
curred in opinion that it would be advisable to discontinue 
hostilities, which could have no useful result, but might 
render the fate of the prisoners worse, or, perhaps, occa- 
sion the sacrifice of their lives, if the enemy were other- 
wise inclined to preserve them ; and that it would be 
advisable to return to Okotsk, and to obtain from our 
government sufficient means either for delivering our 
unfortunate comrades, or for avenging their death. 

When daylight set in, I sent the second pilot, Srednago, 
in a boat to the cask, for the purpose of seeing whether 
the letter we had placed in it the day before was removed ; 
but before he reached the cask, he heard drums beating 
within the fortress, and he returned for fear of being taken 
by the Japanese baidars. In fact, we soon perceived a 
baidar put ofi" from the shore, and throw out a new cask 
with a black pennant. /We weighed anchor, stood into 
the harbour, and manned a boat for the purpose of 
examining whether the cask contained a. letter, or any 
thing by which we might obtain some idea of the fate that 
had befallen our companions. We ascertained, however, 
that the cask was attached to a rope, the other end of 
which extended to the shore, and by which it was imper- 
ceptibly drawn back, with the view of enticing our boat 
nearer land, and thus getting possession of her. We once 


mcnre cast anchor^ and were again plunged into all the 
torments of incertitude. We now deemed it expedient to 
attempt to conciliate the Japanese, by making it appear 
that we considered them incapable of acting towards 
prisoners in a manner inconsistent with the practice of 
civilized powers. With this view I dispatched Midship- 
man FilatoflF in a boat to the promontory, with the linen, 
the razors, and some books belonging to the officers, all 
well packed up : I also sent the clothes of the sailors, each 
packet having a particular superscription, with orders to 
leave these things in one of the fishing villages. 

On the 14th of July we left the bay, which the officers 
of the ' Diana' appropriately named the Bay of Deceit, 
and we steered our course direct to Okotzk, surrounded 
by a thick fog. 

On the sixteenth day after our departure from Kunashier, 
the town of Okotzk began to rise to our view. In order 
to loBC no time, I ordered a signal to be made, by hoisting 
a flag and firing a gun, and we lay-to for a pilot. The 
commandant of the port soon sent out Lieutenant 
Schachoff, with instructions to conduct us to the best 
anchoring ground. I immediately reported to the com- 
mandant of the port. Captain Minitzky, the misfortune 
which had befallen Golownin, wha was bound to him as 
well as to me by the strongest ties of friendship, ever 
rfnce we had served together in the English navy. 
Minitzky participated most sincerely in our feelings, and 
to him I was indebted for much prudent advice and active 

In September I proceeded, by the advice of Captain 
Minitzky, to Irkutzk, with the intention of going to 
St. Petersburgh, to inform the Minister of Marine of all 



that had occurred^ and to receive his orders respecting a 
fresh voyage to the Japanese coasts for the liberation of 
our countrymen. 

On my arrival at Irkutzk, I found that the civil gover- 
nor, Treskin, had already received my account from the 
Commandant of Okotzk, and had long since forwarded it to 
the superior authorities in St. Petersburgh, accompanied 
with a request that a new expedition should be dispatched 
to the Japanese coasts, for the liberation of the prisoners. 
Instead therefore of proceeding to St. Petersburg, I was 
induced to await in Irkutzk the final decision on the 
subject. Governor Treskin evinced great sympathy for 
Golownin's misfortune, and assisted me in drawing up the 
plan of the expedition, which was immediately forwarded 
to Governor-General Pestel for his inspection. However, 
amidst the pressure of political affairs at that period, the 
sanction of the Emperor could not be obtained. I was 
ordered to return to Okotzk, and, with the permission of 
the proper authorities, to proceed to complete our still 
unfinished survey, in the sloop ' Diana,* and also to visit 
the Island of Kunashier, to ascertain, if possible, the fate 
of our companions. 

During the winter^ the Japanese, Leonsaimo, with whom 
the reader has already become acquainted, through Captain 
Grolownin's narrative, was, by the express command of the 
civil governor, brought to Irkutzk, where he experienced 
a very kind reception. Great pains were taken to con- 
vince him of the amicable intentions of our government 
towards Japan; and as he understood Russian tolerably 
well, we apparently succeeded. He assured us that the 
Russians would be taken care of in Japan, and that the 
investigation of their case would soon be brought by his 


government to a happy conclusion. In -company with 
this Japanese I returned to Okotzk. 

The ^ Diana^ was fitted out with all possible expedition ; 
and on the 18th of July^ 1812, when everything was 
prepared for our departure, I received into the ship six 
Japanese, who had been shipwrecked on the coasts of 
Kamtschatka, and whom I wished to convey back to their 
country. Some circumstances attending the shipwreck of 
these men deserve to be mentioned. They were wrecked 
in the same year in which our comrades were made 
prisoners on the Japanese coast ; and. Providence seemed 
to have expressly ordained that, out of the whole crew, 
there should survive only a number equal to that of our 
countrymen in Japan. According to European views, it 
might, therefore, be supposed that an exchange could now 
easily have been made, but the sequel will show how 
different the Japanese laws are, in this respect, from ours. 

About three o^clock in the afternoon, on the 22nd of 
July, we set sail, in company with the ' Sotik^ brig. My 
intention was to take the shortest course to Kunashier, 
by the Pikoff Channel, or, at least, by the Straits of 

After a voyage somewhat retarded by adverse winds 
and thick fogs, we first saw land on the afternoon of the 
12th of August. This land was the north end of the 
island Ooroop, but we could not pass Defries Straits 
until the 15th of August; and unfavourable weather 
detained us thirteen days on the coasts of Eetooroop, 
Tshikotana, and Kunashier, so that we did not arrive in 
the roadstead, which we had the year before named the 
Bay of Deceit, until the 28th of August. 

As we passed, at gun-shot distance, the works for the 

p 2 


defence of the harbour, we observed that a new battery of 
fourteen cannons was erected in two tiers, one abore the ~ 
other. As soon as we appeared in the bay, the Japanese 
concealed themselves; they did not fire, nor could we 
perceive any movement whatever in the place. The whote 
<rf the buildings fronting the shore were hung with striped 
cotton cloth, so that we could only see the roofs of the 
large barracks. All their boats were drawn on shore. 
From their not firing, we began to hope that the Japanese 
now entertained a more favourable opinion of us than 
before, and we cast anchor at two miles from the works. 

I have already mentioned, that the native of Japan, 
called Leonsaimo, whom we had with us, understood 
something of the Russian language. He had been 
carried away six years before by Lieutenant Chwo- 
stoff. With his assistance, we proposed to draw up a 
short letter to the governor of the island, consisting of 
an extract from a memorandum which the civil governor 
of Irkutzk had written. It stated the reason which had 
induced our government to send the ^Diana^ to the 
Japanese coasts ; and after describing the treachery prac- 
tised against Captain Golownin, concluded in the following 

^^ Notwithstanding these unexpected hostile proceedings, 
we are bound to fulfil the commands of our monarjch, 
and to bring back all the Japanese who suffered ship- 
wreck on the coast of Kamtschatka; whereby it will be 
evident that we do not entertain any hostile intention, 
and we persuade ourselves that the Russian prisoners will 
also*be restored to us, as innocent persons, who have done 
injury to no one. But if, contrary to our expectations,^ 
such liberation cannot take place consequence of its 


•being necessary to await the decision of the Japanese 
Government, or owing to other circumstances^ we will 
return next year with the same request/^ 

In the translation of this letter^ Leonsaimo, in whom 
. we had placed all our hopes^ betrayed an evident design 
to practise some deception. A few days before our 
arrival at Kunashier^ I had requested him to set about 
the translation, but he constantly pretended that the 
letter wa/s so diffuse, he could not translate it. ^^ I will 
translate what you say, but I will make a short letter. 
With us a letter must not be long.'* I was obliged to 
let him have his way. 

. On the day of our arrival at Kunashier, I called him 
into the cabin and requested the letter. He gave it to 
me on half a sheet of paper, which was entirely written 
over. As in his hieroglyphic mode of writing a single 
jcharacter sometimes expressed a senteiice, the half sheet 
jHTobably contained a very circumstantial description of 
all that he considered necessary to communicate to his 
government, but it might also prove very disadvantageous 
to the settlement of our business. I told him that the 
letter appeared much too long for my object, and that he 
had, without doubt, introduced a great deal which related 
solely to his own affairs. I requested him, if he had no 
obj/ection, to read it to me in Russian. He did not seem in 
the least offended at this request, but told me that the 
paper ccmiprised in fact three letters ; the first, which was 
fihort, explained our business; the second contained an 
account of the shipwreck of the Japanese ; and the third 
gave a description of the misfortunes he had himself 
experienced in Russia. I told him that it was only 
necessary at present to send the first letter, and that the 
others must be deferred until another opportunity ; but that 


if he was desirous they should be all sent together, he 
must give me a copy of them. He immediately copied 
the first without hesitation, but stopped at the others, 
saying they were too difficult. " How can they be too 
difficult/^ said I, since you wrote them yourself ?'' He- 
answered me angrily, ^^ I will sooner destroy them.'^ He 
immediately took up a penknife, cut off the part of the 
paper on which they were written, put it in his mouth, 
and after chewing it with a cunning and spiteful expres- 
sion of countenance, in a few moments swallowed it in my 
presence. The contents of the paper thus remained to us 
a mystery; but what we had, above air to regret, was 
that we could place no reliance on this malignant and 
artful creature. 

I now wished to ascertain whether he had actually 
spoken of our business on the remaining piece of 
paper. During our voyage I had frequently conversed 
with him on many circumstances respecting Japan, 
and had noted down the Japanese of a great number 
of Russian words: I had also, out of mere curiosity, 
made him try to pronounce and write several Russian 
family names, and, of course, that of my unfortunate 
friend, Wassili Michailowitsch Golownin, was not omitted. 
I now requested him to show me the place in the letter 
where this name stood. He did so : 1^ compared .the 
characters with those I already possessed, and thus con- 
vinced myself that the letter really treated of Golownin. 
I now commissioned one of our Japanese to deliver the 
letter, in person, to the governor of the island. We put 
him ashore, opposite our anchoring-place. He was imme- 
diately surrounded by hairy Kuriles, who had probably 
concealed themselves under the thick high grass, for the 
purpose of watching our motions. He accompanied them 


to the fortress ; and scarcely had he approached the gate^ 
when the batteries began to fire upon the bay. TTiese 
were the first shots discharged since our arrival. I asked 
Leonsiamo why they fired, when they saw that only a 
^ngle man from the Russian ship was, in confidence, 
approaching the town. He answered: "In Japan it is 
so : it is the law or custom : they do not mean to kill, 
but only fire.'' This unexpected proceeding on the pai*t of 
the Japanese annihilated every hope I had formed of 
being able to negotiate with them. At first, when we 
approached the fortress, they did not fire ; but they had 
now begun to fire upon our flag of truce in a manner which 
was not easy to be explained, but which indicated nothing 
favourable. No movement was made on board the ship ; 
and the boat which had conveyed the Japanese ashore 
had returned, and lay alongside. At the gate of the 
fortress he was surrounded by a multitude of people, and 
we soon lost sight of him. Three days passed away in vain 
expectation of his return. 

During the whole of this time we were constantly 
occupied, from morning to night, in observing the shore 
through telescopes, so that not even the smallest objects, 
from the place where the Japanese had landed to the 
fortress, could escape our notice. We often imagined we 
saw him, and cried out with joy, ^^ Here comes our mes- 
senger V But deceptions of this kind were, sometimes, 
of long duration, particularly after sunset, and in foggy 
weather, when the refraction of the rays of light so won- 
derfully increased the size of objects, that we often mis- 
took a crow with extended wings, for a Japanese in his 
loose gown. Leonsaimo, himself, frequently stood several 
hours together with the telescope in his hand, and seemed 


much surprised that nobody came to us. The fortress 
remained closed like a tomb. 

On the approach of night sre always prepared the ship 
for action, in case of attack ; and the deep silence was dis- 
turbed only by the echo of the watch-word of our sentinels, 
which resounded through the bay, and informed the 
enemy that we were not slumbering. As we were in want 
of fresh water, I ordered a boat to put ashore, with armed 
meu, for the purpose of filling our water casks ; and a 
second Japanese was also, at the same time, dispatched 
on the same mission as the former, to explain to the 
governor why the Russian ships had come to these coasts. 
I requested Leonsaimo to send with him a short note; 
but he declined doing so, saying, ^^As no answer haft 
been returned to the first letter, I fear to write again> 
as it would be against our laws.'' He, however, advised 
me to draw up a memorandum in the Russian language, 
which the Japanese who bore it might translate. I did 
so. In the course of a few hours this second messenger 
returned, saying that he had been admitted to the 
governor, and had presented the paper I had written; 
which, however he would not receive. He then told the 
governor that the Russians had sent some men on shore 
to get water. ^^ Very well,'' answered he, "let them take 
water ; and as for you, go back where you came from.^' 
He said no more, and departed. 

Our Japanese had spent some time among a number of 
hairy Kuriles ; but as he did not understand their Ian*, 
guage, he could learn nothing from them. He told us 
that the Japanese remained at a distance, and did not 
venture to approach him ; and that, finally, the Kuriles 
had turned him out of the gate of the fortress by force. 


The poor fellow told me that he wished to have remained 
on land, and that he had begged the governor, with tears 
in his eyes, to allow him to stay at least for one night ; 
but was refused. We therefore concluded that our first 
messenger had met with the same reception, and that, 
from the fear of experiencing no better treatment from us, 
in consequence of bringing no news of our comrades, he 
had concealed himself among the hills, or had, perhaps, 
gone to some other town on the island. I wished, on a 
subsequent day, to provide myself with more water, and 
for that purpose sent the remaining empty casks on shore, 
about four o'clock in the afternoon. The Japanese, who 
attentively watched all our motions, began to fire at 
random, though our boats Were already near the shore. 
In order to avoid the least motive for hostilities, I recalled 
the boats by a signal, which being observed by the 
Japanese : the firing then immediately ceased. 

We had now been seven days in the Bay of Deceit, 
Und it was but too evident that a decided distrust of our 
intentions prevailed ; for the commandant, either from 
reluctance on his own part, or by order of his govern- 
ment, refused to hold any communication with us. 

We recollected that we had, in the preceding year, left 
several articles belonging to our imhappy friends in a 
fishing village, and we wished to ascertain whether they 
had been carried away. I accordingly directed Lieutenant 
Klatoff, who commanded the brig ^ Sotik,' to land and 
visit the village,'* accompanied by a party of armed men. 
As the brig approached the Bhore, firing commenced from 
the batteries, which, however, owing to the great distance> 
proved ineffectual. After a few hours had elapsed, Mr. 
Filatoff sent to inform me that the house in the fishing 
village, where the articles had been deposited, was quite 


empty. This seemed a favourable omen^ and we were 
cheered by the hope that our comrades were still in 
existence. On the following day I again sent the same 
Japanese ashore, to inform the commandant why a landing 
had been made by the brig. With considerable diflSculty 
I prevailed on Leonsaimo to translate into the Japanese 
language a short note, in which I requested that the 
governor would grant me an interview. I wished like- 
wise to state my reason for sending the brig to the 
fishing village, but the obstinate Leonsaimo refused to 
make this explanation. The Japanese returned at an 
early hour on the following morning. The governor had 
received the letter, but instead of returning a written 
answer, he merely said : ^' Well, well, the Russian 
captain may hold an interview with me in the city/' 
This amounted to a decided refusal; at least, it would 
have been absurd in me to have accepted the invitation. 
On being informed of our reason for landing at the 
fishing village, the governor observed : " What things ? 
They were taken away immediately.'^ This equivocal 
answer gave us once more reason to fear that our un- 
fortunate friends were no longer living. Besides, our 
Japanese messenger was not suffered to pass the night in 
the city, and was obliged to lie down among the grass, 
near the shore, opposite to the ' Diana/ To carry on any 
further correspondence by means of Japanese, who under- 
stood not a word of Russian, appeared perfectly useless. 
We had hitherto received no written answer to any of our 
letters, and we were therefore reduced to the alternative 
of again quitting the shores of Japan, harassed by the 
most tormenting uncertainty. Leonsaimo, indeed, un- 
derstood Russian, but as he was our only interpreter, we 
did not wish to dispatch him to the commandant, except 


in a case of the most urgent necessity^ lest he should 
be forcibly detained, or^ on his own part, reluctant to 

I, therefore, thou^t of another scheme. It appeared 
to me, that, without any violation of our pacific conduct 
towards the Japanese, we might stop one of the vessels 
which we had frequently observed sailing near us, and 
thus endeavour to communicate with some persons on 
board, from whom we might obtain information respecting 
the fete of our comrades. We anxiously watched for the 
space of three days, but no ship appeared within sight, 
and we concluded that, as the autumn had set in, the 
Japanese had, for the meanwhile, suspended their navi- 

Our only hope rested now on Leonsaimo, but I wished, 
if possible, to ascertain his real sentiments before I should 
send him ashore, and with this view I told him that, as I 
intended to put to sea on the following morning, it would 
be advisable for him to write a letter to his friends. On 
hearing this his countenance suddenly changed, and with 
evident embarrassment he thanked me for the information, 
saying : " Well, I will merely write to tell them that they 
never need expect to see me again.^' Then with the most 
violent agitation he exclaimed : " I will put an end to my 
days; will go no more to sea; I must die among the 
Russians.'^ To detain a man in such a state of mind 
could be of little use to us ; and it was impossible not to 
see just ground* for the feeling he manifested, considering 
the sufferings which he had endured, during his six 
years captivity in Russia. There was, indeed, reason to 
fear, that as he was bereft of every hope of returning to 
his native country, he would not fail, in a fit of despair, to 
commit suicide. I accordingly resolved to employ him to 


lay our propositions once more before the governor, with 
the view of prevailing on him to grant me an inter- 

On being made acquainted with my determination, he 
solemnly promised that, if not forcibly detained, he would 
return and bring me all the information he could col- 
lect. As there was at least a probability that he might not 
be allowed to return, I thought it advisable to adopt the 
following precautions : I directed that he should be accom- 
panied by his countryman, who had already been sent on 
shore, and I provided him with three cards. On the first of 
these cards were written the words, "Captain Golownin, 
^nd the rest of the Russians are in Kunashier ;^' on the 
second, ^^ They have been removed to Matsmai, Nangasaky^ 
or Yeddo f and on the third, " They are dead." It was 
agreed that, in case of liconsaimo being detained, he 
should give one of these cards to the Japanese whe 
accompanied him, cancelling or adding such words as 
the information he should obtain might require. 

We landed them on the 4th of September, and, to our 
great joy, we saw them both quit the fortress on the 
following day. We immediately sent the boat ashore 
for them \ we were cheered by the hope of hearing some 
welcome tidings of our friends. Meanwhile, we watched 
them closely with our telescopes, and to our astonish- 
ment perceived that the other Japanese quitted Leoa- 
saimo, and, turning in a lateral direction, concealed 
himself among the thick grass. Leonsaimo came on 
board the ship alone, and on my inquiring where his 
companion was, he replied that he knew i^othing of him. 
With eager anxiety we all thronged to hear his message, 
but he requested to have an interview with me in the 
cabin. He then, in the presence of Lieutenant Rudakofif, 


stated all the difficulties he had experienced in gaining 
access to the governor, who, without hearing a word he 
had to say, enquired, "Why the captain had not come on 
dM)re himself V Leonsaimo replied, that he knew 
nothing of my reason for not doing so ; but that the object 
of his errand was to learn what had . become of Captain- 
6olownin and the other Russian prisoners. Harassed 
between hope and fear, we waited to hear the answer of 
the governor, but Leonsaimo wished first to be assured 
diat no harm would befall himself on disclosing the truth. 
I assured him that he had nothing to fear, and he at 
l^igth pronounced the dreadful words : " They are all 

This information plunged us into the deepest affliction, 
and we could not, without horror, cast our eyes towards 
the shore where the blood of our friends had been shed. 
As I had received no instruction how to act in such a 
case, it appeared to me that I should be justified in taking 
vengeance on the faithlesa Japanese, being well convinced 
that our government would never suffer their atrocities to 
pass unpunished. I wished, however, to obtain more' 
certain evidence than the mere words of Leonsaimo, and 
accordingly I sent him once more to the fortress with 
ocders to obtain from the commandant a written con- 
firmation of his message. We, moreover, promised 
immediately to liberate him and the other Japanese we' 
^dll had on board, in case we should resolve to adopt 
hostile measures : at the same time I gave orders that^ 
both vessels should be prepared for action. 

Leonsaimo was to have returned that day, but we saw- 
nothing of him. The following day likewise elapsed, and 
he did not appear; the expectation of his return was> 


therefore^ very uncertain; while^ at the same time, his 
absence still left subject to a shade of doubt the sad 
tidings we had received. I, therefore, resolved not to 
quit the bay until we should fall in with a vessel, or 
some individual, from whom we could ascertain the 

On the morning of the 6th of September, we descried 
'a Japanese baidare. I immediately dispatched Lieutenant 
Rudakoff to capture it, placing under his command 
Messrs. Srednago and Sawelieff, two officers, both of 
whom voluntered their services on this first hostile pro- 
ceeding. Our boat quickly overtook the baidare, and 
captured it near the land. The crew immediately jumped 
overboard and escaped ; two Japanese and a hairy Kurile 
were, however, found by Mr. Sawelieff concealed among 
the bushes on the shore, but from them we could obtain 
no information. When I began to interrogate them, they 
fell on their knees, and answered every question with the 
hissing exclamation : " Sche ! sche \" No pains were 
spared to manifest kindness to them, but all our 
endeavours to extract information proved fruitless. 

On the following morning, we saw a large Japanese 
vessel steering towards the harbour. I forthwith dis- 
patched Lieutenant Rudakoff with express orders not 
to resort to violence, but merely to terrify the crew ; and, 
when they surrendered, to conduct the captain to me. 
After a few hours had elapsed, during which no resistance 
appeared to be made, we observed that Lieutenant Filatoff 
had obtained possession of the sloop, and was towing her 
to our anchoring ground. 

On his return, Filatoff reported to me as follows: 
When our. boats approached the Japanese ship, she 


seemed to have a great number of armed men on board. 
As she took no notice of being hailed, but continued her 
course, some shots were fired towards her, but in the air. 
The Japanese immediately slackened sail and lay-to : 
and as the ship was close in shore, several of the crew 
jumped overboard, in the hope of saving themselves by 
swimming. Those who were near our boats were picked 
up, the rest either swam ashore or were drowned. 

The whole crew of the Japanese vessel amounted to 
about sixty individuals, but only the commander was 
brought to me. His rich yellow dress, his sabre, and 
other things, indicated that he was a person of distinc- 
tion. I immediately conducted him to the cabin. He 
sainted me according to the Japanese fashion, and with 
demonstrations of high respect. I assured him that he 
had no cause for apprehension, and with great frankness 
of manner he seated himself on a chair in the cabin. I 
then interrogated him in the Japanese language, of which 
I had learned a little from Leonsaimo. He informed me 
that his name was Tachatay-Kachi, and that he enjoyed 
the rank of a Sindosnamotsh, a term which intimated that 
he was the commander and owner of several ships ; ten 
he stated belonged entirely to himself. He had come 
firom the Island of Eetooroop, and was proceeding to the 
harbour of Chakodade in the Island of Matsmai, with a 
cargo of dried fish, but contrary winds^ had obliged him to 
put into the Bay of Kunashier. 

In order to make him more readily acquainted with 
everything relative to our proceedings, I showed him the 
letter which Leonsaimo had written to the commandant of 
of the island. Having read it, he suddenly exclaimed, 
"Captain Moor and five Russians are now in. the city of 


Matsmai/' He then iiiformed me when they had heeit 
brought from Kunashier^ through what towns they had 
been conveyed, and how long they had remained in each 
place, at the same time giving me a description of 
Mr. Moor's person. One circumstance alone tended ta 
dispirit us : he did not mention a word of Captain 
Golownin. We reflected, that in his situation, he might 
naturally wish to persuade us that our countrymen were 
still living : yet, how could he invent so many circum- 
stances in the space of a few minutes. On the other 
hand, we could in no way account for Leonsaimo's con- 
duct. What could induce him to fabricate a tale so 
distressing to our feelings? Perhaps he was afraid of 
being detained on board the ^ Diana,' had he informed 
us that our comrades were still living? But might be 
not have sent back one of the cards, without returning 
himself ? It was possible, after all, such a message had 
really been sent by the governor of the island, that he 
might rid himself of all further trouble ; iand fear mighty 
on the second occasion^ have prevented Leonsaimo from 

Although we were in a state of complete uncertainty, 
there seemed to be a probability that our comrades were 
still living, and I accordingly abandoned all thoughts of 

I resolved to convey Tachatay-Kachi to Kamtschatka,. 
hoping, that» in the course of the winter we might, 
through him, obtain some positive information respect- 
ing the fate of our companions, and the views of the 
Japanese Government. He seemed to be far superior in 
rank to any of his countrymen with whom we had hitherto 
communicated, and we consequently supposed that he 


was better acquainted with the aflFairs of his country. 
We afterwards learned that he was a very rich mer- 
chant ; and that^ being commander of his own ships^ he 
enjoyed, according to the Japanese laws, privileges cor- 
responding with those of an officer of state. 

I informed him, that he must hold himself in readiness 
to accompany me to Russia, and explained the circum- 
stances which compelled me to make such an arrange- 
ment. He understood me perfectly well ; and when I 
proceeded to state my belief that Captain Golownin, 
Mr. Moor, and the rest of the Russian prisoners, had 
been put to death, he suddenly interrupted me, exclaim- 
ing, " That is not true. Captain Moor and five Russians 
are living in Matsmai, where they are well treated, and 
enjoy the freedom of walking about the city, accompanied 
by two officers.'^ When I intimated that we intended to 
tsJce him with us, he replied with astonishing coolness, 
^^ Well, well, I am ready -" and merely requested, that on 
our arrival in Russia he might continue to live with me. 
This I promised he should do, and likewise that I would 
convey him back to Japan in the ensuing year. He then 
seemed perfectly reconciled to his unlooked-for destiny. 

The four Japanese who still remained on board the 
ship understood not a word of Russian, and were besides 
80 ill, that they would, in all probability, have perished, 
had they wintered in Kamtschatka. I, therefore, thought 
it advisable to set them at liberty ; and having furnished 
them with every necessary, I ordered them to be put on 
shore, hoping that they would, in gratitude, give a good 
account of the Russians to their countrymen. In their 
stead, I determined to take four seamen from the Japa- 
nese vessel, who might be useful in attending on Tachatay- 



Kachi, to whom I left the selection of the men. But he 
earnestly entreated that none of the seamen might be 
removed from his ship^ observing^ that he feared they 
would die of grief, through the dread they entertained of 
the Russians. The earnestness of his solicitations on this 
subject, led me, in some measure, to doubt that our com- 
rades were really living in Matsmai, and I repeated, in a 
decided manner, my determination to take four of the 
seamen on board the ^ Diana.^ He then begged that I 
would accompany him to his ship, ^lien we went on 
board he assembled the whole of his crew in the cabin ; 
and having seated himself cross-legged on a long cushion, 
which was placed on a fine mat, requested that I would 
take my place beside him. The sailors all knelt down 
before us, and he delivered a long speech, in which he 
stated that it would be necessary for some of them to 
accompany us to Bussia. 

Here a very affecting scene ensued. Several of the 
seamen approached him, with their heads bowed down, 
and with great earnestness whispered something to him. 
All were bathed in tears ; even Tachatay-Kachi, who had 
hitherto evinced calmness and resolution, seemed now to 
be deeply distressed, and began to weep. I, for some 
time, hesitated to carry my resolution into effect, and was 
only induced to adhere to it by the consideration that I 
should hereafter have the opportunity of interrogating 
each individual separately, and, probably, thereby ascer- 
taining the real fate of our comrades. I had, however, in 
other respects, no reason to repent of this determination ; 
for our prisoner, who was a man of rank, and accustomed 
to live in a style of Asiatic luxury, would have expe- 
rienced serious inconvenience on board our vessel, without 


his Japanese attendants. Two of the seamen were always^ 
by turns, near his person. As he knew the reasons which 
obliged me to convey him to Russia^ and the message 
which Leonsaimo had received from the commandant of 
the island, I begged that he would write to the latter a 
minute explanation of all that had taken place. This he 
immediately did. 

Tachatay-Kachi, and the sailors he selected, were soon 
as much at their ease as though our ship had been their 
own, and we, on our side, spared no efforts to convince 
them that we considered the Japanese not as a hostile, 
but as a friendly-disposed nation, with whom our good 
uiiderstanding was only accidentally interrupted. The 
same day we received on board, at my invitation, from the 
eaptured vessel, a Japanese lady, who had been the in- 
separable companion of Tachatay-Kachi, on his voyage 
from Chakodade, his place of residence, to Eetooroop. 
She was extremely desirous of seeing our ship, and th« 
strange people and polite enemies, as she styled us, and to 
witness our friendly intercourse with her countrymen. A 
Japanese lady was also^ to us, no inconsiderable object of 
curiosity.. When she came on board she appeared very 
timid and embarrassed. I requested Tachatay-Kachi to 
conduct her into my cabin, and as she advanced I took 
her by the other hand. On reaching the cabin-door she 
wished to take off her straw shoes; but as there were 
neither mats nor carpets in my cabin, I explained to her, 
by signs, that this peculiar mark of politeness might be 
dispensed with among us. On entering the cabin she 
placed both hands on her head, with the palms, outwards, 
and saluted us by bending her body very low. I con- 
ducted her to a chair, and Kachi requested her to sit 

Q 2 


down. Fortunately for this unexpected visitor, there was 
on board our vessel a young and agreeable Russian lady, 
the wife of our surgeon's mate. The Japanese lady seemed 
highly pleased on being introduced to her, and they 
quickly formed an intimacy. Our countrywoman en- 
deavoured to entertain the foreigner with what the women 
of all countries delight in : she showed her her trinkets. 
Our visitor behaved with aU the ease of a well bred 
European. She examined the ornaments with great 
curiosity, and expressed her admiration by an agreeable 
smile. But the fair complexion of our countrywoman 
seemed most of all to attract her attention. She passed 
her hands over her face, as though she suspected it had 
been painted, and with a smile, exclaimed, " goee ! goee P' 
signifying pretty. Observing that our visitor had decked 
herself with some of the trinkets, I held a looking-glass 
before her, that she might see how they became her. The 
Russian lady was standing immediately behind her, and 
seeing the difference of their complexions, the Japanese 
immediately thrust the glass aside, and good humouredly 
said, " varee ! varee V (not pretty.) She herself might 
have been called handsome ; her countenance was of the 
oval form, her features regular, and her little mouth, 
when open, disclosed a set of shining black lackered teeth. 
Her black eyebrows, which had the appearance of having 
been pencilled, over-arched a pair of bright dark eyes, 
which were by no means very deeply seated. Her black 
hair was rolled up in the form of a turban, without any 
ornament, except a few small tortoise-shell combs. She 
was about the middle height, and elegantly formed. Her 
dress consisted of six wadded silk garments, like dressing- 
gowns, each was fastened round the lower part of the 


waist by a separate band, and drawn closely together from 
the girdle downwards. They were all of different colours, 
and the upper one was black. Her articulation was slow, 
and her voice soft. Her countenance was expressive and 
interesting, and she was altogether calculated to make a 
very agreeable impression. She could not be older than 
eighteen. We entertained her with fine green tea and 
sweetmeats, of which she partook moderately. On her 
taking leave I made her some presents, with which she 
appeared to be very much pleased. I hinted to our 
countrywoman that she should embrace her. When the 
Japanese observed what was intended, she ran into her 
asms, and kissed her with a smile. She was landed at 
Kunashier, by the same baidare which carried Tachatay- 
Kachi's letter. 

I now confidently expected that the governor of the 
island would send a written communication on board, if 
not to me, at least to Tachatay-Kachi, and I also hoped 
that he would order Leonsaimo, whom Kachi had ex- 
pressly mentioned, to return and serve as our interpreter ; 
but instead of receiving any answer, four guns were a few 
days after fired at our boats, when they put on shore for 
water. We could, therefore, only conclude, that the 
governor had received orders to hold no communication 
with us. I despised this inefficient firing; and wishing 
to examine all my prisoners thoroughly, I determined not 
to engage in any rash enterprise which might raise im- 
pediments in the way of our main object. 

As the weather continued fine, I ordered the anchor to 
be weighed ; but Tachatay-Kachi requested that I would 
previously allow the crew of his vessel the gratification of 
viewing the ^ Diana.^ They were accordingly conducted 
over the ship, and were very curious to be made acquainted 


with the use of everything that was new to them ; they 
particularly admired the mechanism of our runnmg 
riggings the bold climbing of our sailors up the futtock 
shrouds^ and the still more daring manner in which they 
ran from the tops out upon the yards^ or ascended to the 
mast-head. I gave orders that they should be taken into 
my cabin^ where they made the same demonstrations of 
respect as if I had been present. Some Russian brandy 
was presented to them in silver cups, the influence of 
which soon rendered them more lively and unreserved in 
their manners. They contrived to make themselves un- 
derstood by our sailors^ and seemed much pleased with 
our cloth-dresses^ bright metal buttons^ and coloured 
cravats^ which they prevailed on the seamen to exchange 
for some of their Japanese trifles. Tachatay-Kacbi 
observed some empty casks on deck^ and proposed that 
they should be sent on board his ship to be filled. His 
seamen immediately carried off aU our empty casks^ and 
brought them back fiUed with excellent fresh water, pur 
Japanese visitors then took leave of us^ and returned to 
their vessel, singing as they rowed back. We were much 
gratified at finding ourselves on so friendly a footing with 
men whom we had, a short time before, looked upcm as 

In the evening we got under weigh, and immediately 
all the batteries opened their fire. It was probably sus- 
pected that we intended to approach the fortress with 
hostile intentions; but we were at so great a distance 
from the batteries, that the manner in which the Japanese 
threw away their shot was to us truly laughable. Our 
guest likewise laughed, observing, " Kunashier is a bad 
place for the Russians ; Nangasaky is better .^^ 

On the following day adverse winds obliged us to cast 


aocbor in the bay, at the distance of more than seven 
leagues from the town : we anxiously watched, with our 
telescopes, for the return of the baidare which had been 
sent on shore. Kachi, however, assured us that the 
baidare would not be allowed to come out while our vessel 
remained in sight of the island. 

On the 11th of September we made sail, directing our 
course towards Kamtschatka. During our passage we 
encountered several violent storms, which about this 
season of the year are to be expected in these latitudes. 

As Tachatay-Kachi occupied the same cabin with me, 
I had every opportunity of communicating with him. For 
a long time I strove in vain to collect from him some 
information respecting Golownin. He listened very atten- 
tively to the description I gave of his rank and name, and 
constantly repeated, " I know nothing of him.'^ I was 
aware that our Russian family names must sound strangely 
to the ear of a Japanese. I endeavoured to pronounce 
the name *' Golownin^^ in all the diflFerent ways I could 
think of, and at length, to my indescribable joy, Kachi 
exclaimed, " Choworin ! I have heard of him 3 he is like- 
wise in Matsmai. The Japanese suppose him to be a 
Russian Danmio^^ (that is to say, an officer of the first 
rank). He then proceeded to inform me what he had 
heard respecting Golownin, from persons who had seen 
him : " He is,^^ said he, " tall, of dignified deportment, 
more reserved in his manners than Mr. Moor, and is not 
fond of smoking tobacco, though the Japanese have given 
him the best that can be procured. Mr. Moor, on the 
contrary, loves to smoke a pipe, and understands our 
language tolerably well,^^ 

This minute description banished all our doubts, and 
we thanked Providence for having sent us a guest capable 


of communicating such welcome intelligence. I was bow 
doubly overjoyed on reflecting that I had doubted the 
truth of the answer brought by Leonsaimo, and had not 
proceeded to hostilities, as I at first intended. I learned 
from our prisoner, that he was accustomed to sail every 
year from Niphon to Eetooroop, with goods of various 
kinds, and to return with cargoes of fish ; but I was 
much astonished at his not knowing Leonsaimo. I 
suspected that I did not pronounce the name rightly, and 
showed him my memorandum book, in which Leonsaimo 
had himself written his own name, and that of his native 
city, Matsmai. Kachi read the signature, and declared 
that no merchant of that name had ever lived at Eetoo- 
roop j he added, that he knew every one on the island, and 
even told me their names. I now repeated all the names 
to which Leonsaimo had laid claim, viz., Nagatshema,* 
Tomogero, and Chorodsee. On hearing the latter name, 
Kachi smiled, and exclaimed with astonishment, *' What, 
Chorodsee ! I know him ; and so he has represented 
himself in Russia as an Oyagodo V (a chief over the 
Kuriles). ^'Yes,^^ answered I, "and he stated that he 
was a wealthy man/' "He never possessed a single 
baidare,'' replied Kachi ; he was a Banin (an overseer of 
a fishery), and had also the charge of the correspondence, 
as he was a good penman. He is not a native of Matsmai, 
but of the principality of Nambu, and is married to the 
daughter of a hairy Kurile.^' Kachi uttered these last 
words with a contemptuous expression, and drew his 
hand across his throat, as if to signify that Leonsaimo 
would forfeit his head were it known in Japan that he 
assumed a rank to which he had no claim. 

This unexpected discovery induced me to believe that 
the Japanese whom I had dispatched to the governor 


of the island, might have yielded to evil instigation, or 
acted treacherously, in order to gratify base revenge. It 
besides appeared, that I was wrong in attributing the 
escape of the Japanese, who had left Leonsaimo near the 
fortress, to the fear of coming back to us ; for I learned 
from Tachatay-Kachi, that Japanese subjects who have 
lived more than one year in a foreign country, are, on 
their return home, prohibited from returning, under any 
pretence, to their own families, but are sent to Yeddo to 
undergo an examination, where they are generally detained 
for the remainder of their lives, without the hope of ever 
seeing their friends again. Our Japanese had lived about 
a year in Kamtschatka, and consequently that circum- 
stance accounted for their non-appearance. 

On leaving the stormy coasts of Japan, we soon found 
ourselves among the Kurile Islands, off La Bussole 
Straits, so named by La Perouse. The weather was 
sufficiently clear to enable us to make astronomical 
observations. We purposely sailed through these wide 
straits into the sea of Okotzk, and observed the western 
coasts of some of the islands, situated towards the north. 
We then pa9sed into the eastern ocean, through an un- 
explored strait, between the islands of Roikoke and 
Matau. As this strait had, as yet, received no desig- 
nation on any chart, I gave it the name of Golownin, as 
a mark of respect to our unfortunate captain, who has 
contributed so much to give celebrity to the object of our 
voyages in these seas. 

On the 22nd of September we discovered the top of 
the extinguished volcano of Kamtschatka, which was 
covered with snow. The valleys were, however, beautifully 
verdant, and the temperature of the atmosphere was mild. 
Kachi observed, that in the course of his voyages to 



Eetooroop and Ooroop, in the same season of the year, 
he had seen more snow on the coasts of these islands, and 
had experienced a degree of cold far more severe. We 
approached the Bay of Awatscha with favourable winds, 
and entered the harbour of Petropaulowskoi on the follow- 
ing day. 

My first object was to send our good Japanese on shore. 
He appeared extremely low-spirited, but this' I attributed 
to the fatigue he had endured on the voyage. But his 
distress arose from a very different cause. Our friends 
came from the shore to congratulate us on our safe arrival, 
and Kachi now began to lament his fate. Judging from 
the laws of his own country, he supposed that he would be 
kept as close a prisoner as our comrades in Japan, and 
was much astonished at being allowed to reside not merely 
in the same house, but in the same apartment with me. 

On the l'2th of October we went ashore together, after 
having given an entertainment on board the ship. Thus 
terminated our first voyage to Japan, the result of which 
was the satisfaction of knowing that our comrades were 
still in existence, and that proved an ample reward for all 
the hardships we had undergone. 

As Tachatay-Kachi had, during twenty years, been 
in the habit of visiting all the harbours of his native coun^- 
try, possessed considerable knowledge of navigation, and 
carried on an extensive trade, it was obvious that he must 
be a person known to the Japanese Government. His 
polished manners proved that he belonged to the superior 
class of society. I had been reluctantly the author of his 
misfortune, and it afforded me no little consolation to find 
that he did not give way to despondency. On the cou- 


trary, be cheered himself with the patriotic reflection that 
he should be able, on his return home, to prove that our 
government entertained no hostile designs against Japan, 
and he pledged his existence, that if an embassy were 
dispatched to Nangasaky, our countrymen would be imme- 
diately liberated. Whilst we enjoyed the society of a 
man so well informed, and so entirely devoted to our 
interests, I was mortified that the Japanese interpreter of 
Irkutzk was not with us, and that he could not possibly 
visit Kamtschatka until the following year. However, 
our mutual anxiety to become intelligible to each other 
induced Kachi to learn Russian in the course of the 
winter, and we were soon able to converse together with 

I briefly reported to the Commandant of Okotzk all 
that had taken place, and requested that he would furnish 
me with an official letter from the Governor of Irkutzk 
to the Bunyo of Matsmai, adding, that I was myself ready 
to proceed to Okotzk to obtain this letter, and that 
Tachatay- Kachi had undertaken to deliver it personally to 
the bunyo. We were to land Kachi at Kunashier, whither 
he proposed to transmit decisive answers and information 
respecting our comrades. Such was the plan we laid down 
for our future expedition. 

Kachi continued tranquil and in good health until the 
middle of winter, when the death of two of his attendants 
greatly aflFected him. He then became melancholy and 
peevish; he constantly complained of indisposition, and 
asserted that he had a complaint in his feet, of which, he 
told the surgeon, he was certain he would die. Our 
surgeon was, however, well aware, that his real disorder 
was nostalgia, or an anxiety for home. He feared that he 
would be detained in Okotzk, whither I intended to take 


him^ and lie finally disclosed this apprehension to me. As 
the whole success of our plan depended upon his safe 
return to his country, I immediately determined to convey 
him direct to Japan^ without waiting for an answer from 
Irkutzk. When I informed him of this resolution, he 
called for his two remaining seamen, and communicated 
the joyful intelligence to them. He then requested that 
I would allow him a few moments privacy with his two 
attendants. I withdrew into the adjoining room, believing 
that they wished to pray without any witnesses being 
present. But Kachi soon came to me in his state 
dress, with his sabre by his side, and his two attendants 
behind him, and made a speech strongly expressive of his 
gratitude. I was surprised and moved, and again vowed 
to him the fulfilment of my promise. 

In April, when we began to prepare for our voyage, I 
received from the Governor of Irkutzk, as Naval Com- 
mander at Kamtschatka, orders to carry into execution 
our new plan, which had now received the sanction of 
superior authority ; and, in case I should again sail for the 
Japanese coast, was directed to leave Lieutenant RudakoflF 
as my substitute in the command of the station. In 
consequence of these orders, I took on board the ' Diana,^ 
Lieutenant FilatoflT, who had commanded the ^ Sotik' brig, 
to supply the place of Lieutenant RudakoflF. 

On the 6th of May we cut through the ice, and got the 
^ Diana ' into the roads in the Bay of Avatscha, whence we 
sailed on the 23rd of May. After a favourable voyage of 
twenty days, we cast anchor in the Bay of Deceit, at about 
the same distance from the Japanese fortifications as 
on the former year. In pursuance of the advice of 
Tachatay-Kachi, his two sailors were desired to prepare 
for going on shore. The buildings were, as formerly. 


concealed by striped cotton cloth. No guns were fired, 
but not a living being was to be seen along the whole of 
the coast. Before their departure the two Japanese sailors 
came into the cabin to thank me, and to receive the 
message which their master wished to send to the gover- 
nor of the island. I took this opportunity of asking 
Tachatay-Kachi whether he had commissioned his sailors 
to bring back circumstantial information respecting my 
countrymen, and whether he pledged himself for their 
return. He answered in the negative. I was startled 
at his refusal. " You are surprised,^^ said he, " because 
you do not know our laws.^' ^^I do not, indeed, know 
them alV^ I replied; "but since it is so (turning to 
the Japanese sailors), tell the Governor of Kunashier from 
me, that if he prevents you from returning, and sends me 
no information, I will carry your master to Okotzk, where 
some ships of war will this year be fitted out, and armed 
men put on board of them, to demand the liberation 
(rf the Russian prisoners. I will wait only three days for 
his answer.^' 

At these words Tachatay-Kachi changed countenance, 
but said, with much calmness, — " Commander of the 
Imperial Ship (he always addressed me thus on important 
occasions), thou counsellest rashly. Thy orders to the 
Governor of Kunashier seem to contain much, but, accord- 
ing to our laws, they contain little. In v^n dost thou 
threaten to carry me to Okotzk. My men may be detained 
on shore; but neither two, nor yet two thousand sailors 
can answer for me. Wherefore, I give thee previous 
notice, that it will not be in thy power to take me to 
Okotzk : but of that hereafter. But, tell me, whether 
it be under these conditions only that my sailors are to be 
sent on shore V 


''Yes," said I; ''as commander of a ship pf war 
I cannot, under these circumstances, act otherwise/' 

" Well,'* replied he ; " allow me to give to my sailors 
my last and most ui^nt instructions as to what tbey 
must communicate from me to the Governor of Kunashier^ 
for now I will neith^ send the promised letter, nor any 
other written document." 

After this conversaticm, during which he sat^ according 
to the Japanese custom^ with his legs crossed under him^ 
he rose up, and addressed me very earnestly in the follow- 
ing terms : " Thou knowest enough of Japanese to under- 
stand all that I may say^ in plain and simple words^ to my 
sailors. I would not wish that thou shouldst have any 
groimd to suspect me of hatching base designs." He 
then sat down again, when his sailors approached him on 
their knees, and, hanging down their heads, listened with 
deep attention to his words. He then reminded them, 
circumstantially, of the day on which they were carried on 
board the ' Diana / of the manner in which they had been 
treated in the ship and in Kamtschatka ; of their having 
inhabited the same house with me, and being carefully 
provided for. He also mentioned the death of their two 
countrymen and the Kurile, notwithstanding all the atten- 
tion bestowed on them by the Russian physician; and, 
finally, that the ship had hastily returned to Japan on 
account of his health. All this he directed them faithfully 
to relate, and concluded with the warmest commendations 
of me, and earnest expressions of gratitude for the care 
which I had taken of him on sea and on land. He then 
sunk into a deep silence and prayed. Hereupon, he 
delivered to the sailor whom he most esteemed his 
portrait, to be conveyed to his wife ; and his large sabre, 
which he called his paternal sword, to be presented to his 


only s<ai and heir. These solemn ceremonies being ended, 
he stood up, and with a frank, and, indeed, a very cheer- 
ful expression of countenance, asked me for some brandy 
to treat his sailors at parting. He drank with them, and 
accompanied them on deck without giving them any 
further charge. We then landed them, and they pro- 
ceeded, without interruption, to the fortress. 

All that passed between Kachi and the sailors who 
were separated from him, together with the significant 
words : " It will not be in thy power to take me to 
Okotzk,'^ gave me much anxiety. The return of the 
sailors appeared to me very uncertain. I could retain 
their sick master as a hostage, but I could not prevent 
his rash speech from being realised. Whether I should 
put him ashore was a matter of difficult deliberation, 
and yet, all circumstances considered, that appeared to 
me the course likely to prove most beneficial to our im- 
prisoned comrades. In case he should not return, I 
resolved to proceed immediately to the fortress. I knew 
enough of Japanese to make myself understood, and I 
thought if our companions were still living, such a pro- 
ceeding could not render their fate worse ; whUe, in case 
they were dead, the whole affair, together with all my 
anxieties, would be speedily brought to a decision. I 
communicated my ideas to the senior of my officers, and 
as he concurred with me in opinion, I told Kachi that he 
might go on shore as .soon as he pleased, and that I 
would trust to his honour for his return. If he did not 
come again it would cost me my life. 

" I understand,*^ answered he. " Thou darest not re- 
turn to Okotzk without a written testimonial of the fate 
of thy countrymen; and, for my- part, the slightest 


stain on my honour will be at the expense of my life. I 
thank thee for the confidence placed in me. I had before 
resolved not to go on shore on the same day with my 
sailors : that would not become me^ according to our cus- 
toms ; but now, since thou hast no objection, I will go 
ashore early to-morrow.'' 

"I will convey you thither myself/' answered I. 
''Then/' he exclaimed, with transport, "we are friends 
again ! I will now tell thee what I meant by sending 
away my portrait and my paternal sword. But I must 
first confess, with that candour which I have invariably 
observed towards thee for the space of three hundred 
days, that I was much offended by thy message to the 
Governor of Kunashier. The menace of sending ships of 
war here during the present year did not concern me, 
but on hearing thy threat to convey me to Okotzk, I 
believed that thou didst regard me to be as great an 
impostor as Gorodsee (Leonsaimo) : I could, indeed, 
scarcely persuade myself that thy Ups had uttered such 
an injury to my honour. That a man of my rank should 
remain a prisoner in a foreign coimtry, is repugnant to 
our national honour; yet thou wouldst reduce me to that 
condition. I wilUngly accompanied thee to Kamtschatka ; 
and my government was informed of that circumstance. 
The sailors alone were compelled to accompany thee 
against their incUnation. Thou wert the strongest 
party ; but though my person was in thy power, my life 
was not at thy disposal. I will now disclose to thee 
my secret design : I had resolved to commit suicide in 
case thy purpose remained unchanged; I therefore cut 
the tuft of hair from the crown of my head, (he 
showed me the bald part from which the hair had been 


removed), and I laid it in the box which contained the 
portrait. This, according to our Japanese customs, signi- 
fies that he who sends his hair in this manner to his 
firiends has died an honourable death; that is to say, 
has ripped open his bowels. His hair is then buried, 
with all the ceremonies which would be observed at the 
interment of his body. Thou callest me friend, and 
therefore I conceal nothing from thee. So great was my 
irritation that I would have killed both thee and the 
senior officer, for the mere satisfaction of afterwards com- 
municating what I had done to thy ship^s crew.^^ 

What a strange sense of honour according to European 
ideas ! Yet the Japanese consider such conduct most 
magnanimous. The memory of the hero is preserved 
with lespect, and the honour of the deed descends to 
his posterity. If, on the contrary, he should fail to act 
in this manner, his children are banished from the place 
of their birth. 

Next day I got into a boat, to proceed with my recon- 
ciled friend to the shore. On approaching it we saw two 
Japanese coming out of the fortress, and, to our great joy, 
we recognised them to be Tachatay-Kachi^s sailors. We 
landed, and waited for them beside the stream opposite 
to which our ship lay. They informed us that the Gover- 
nor of Kunashier had received them kindly, and had 
granted my request respecting the supply of water, on 
condition that I would not allow my men to land on that 
side of the rivulet nearest the fortress. They added, that 
three officers of distinction had come, on our account, to 
Kunashier, and, on mentioning their names, Tachatay- 
Kachi recognised the two elder ones as his intimate friends. 
Further than this the sailors knew nothing, except that 

VOL. II. » 


the governor bad expressed a desire to speak with their 
master as soon as possible. He noticed some trifles 
which I had given them, and would not permit them to 
retain anything. They accordingly brought back every 
article, even pins and needles, all tied up in a parcel. 
This I thought indicated no very friendly disposition; 
but Kachi removed my apprehensions, by informing me 
that the Japanese laws prohibited his countrymen from 
receiving presents. 

One of the sailors delivered to me a box full of papers, 
which had been sent by the Governor of Matsmai. I 
eagerly proceeded to open it, in the expectation of finding 
letters from our comrades ; but Tachatay-Kachi prevented 
me. ^* Repress your curiosity,'^ said he, " that box pro- 
bably contains important papers from our government to 
yours.^^ He then took it from me, and with his usual 
demonstrations of respect, having raised the box three 
times above his head, he said : '* All is favourable to us ! 
I say to Its, for I now feel myself haK a Russian. All will 
be well if you permit me to convey the box back to the 
governor. To-morrow morning I will not fail to restore 
it to you. Such are the forms which the customs of our 
country render necessary.^'* 

I hesitated for a few moments : but suddenly recollect- 
ing myself, and without manifesting the slightest distrust, 
I declared that I would follow his advice. We parted. I 
tore one of my handkerchiefs in half, and gave him one of 
the pieces, saying : " I will regard as a friend whoever 
brings back this half of my handkerchief within two or 

* Probably, because it would have been considered, by the Japanese, 
a want of respect to suffer a common sailor to present the box to the 
commander of a ship of war. 


three days at furthest/' He replied, in a firm tone of 
voice, that death alone should prevent him from fulfilling 
that duty. Next morning he would return on board the 
ship ; in the meantime he wished me to allow his seamen 
to accompany him. To this I readily acceded, and after 
returning on board, I made the ship be kept ready for 
action during the night. 

On the following day our sentinels informed me that 
they had observed two men quit the garrison, and that 
one of them carried something white in his hand, which 
he was constantly waving about. This proved to be 
Kachi. I immediately sent out the boat, and he soon 
arrived, accompanied by one of his sailors. To our great 
joy, he informed us that, according to letters from 
Matsmai, all our comrades were well, except the pilot, 
who had been so dangerously ill that he had tasted 
nothing for the space of ten days, and, moreover, refused 
to follow the prescriptions of the Japanese physicians : the 
latest account, however, stated that he had in some mea- 
sure recovered. Kachi then delivered to me, in the cabin, 
the official paper which had been in the before-mentioned 
box, and which was a letter from the Bunyo of Matsmai to 
the Commandant of Kunashier, written in the Japanese 
language, with a Russian translation. I gave Kachi a 
note, acknowledging the receipt of this paper, to be taken 
back with him to Kunashier ; and by his advice I also 
declared my readiness to sail straight to Chakodade, on 
condition that two Japanese should be allowed to accom- 
pany me, as by their means I might be enabled to com- 
mence* regular communications. Kachi undertook to 
explain to the commandant the contents of this letter, and 
in the evening we put him ashore. 

R 2 


Kacbi retomed next day^ notwithstanding the rainy 
weather, and he stated that, though the governor con- 
sidered my proposal extremely reasonable, yet he was 
not authorized to act on his own opinion in such a case. 
He had, therefore, sent an express to Matsmai with my 
last letter, and the one which I had written when I first 
arrived at Knnashier. " There are Russian interpreters in 
Matsmai,^^ said Kachi. He assured me that the post 
would return in twenty days. Taking into consideration 
all these favourable circumstances, I resolved to wait for 
the answer of the Bunyo of Matsmai. In the mean- 
while, Kachi, on every third day, brought us information 
of all that took place. In his name his sailors frequently 
brought us presents of fish, which I distributed in equal 
portions among the crew. He gave strict orders that 
they should receive no payment in return for these pre- 
sents, and always expressed his regret that the unproduc- 
tive state of the fishery prevented him from being more 
Uberal in his gifts. Indeed we did not, during the whole 
time, receive more than seventeen fish. Whenever Kachi 
came on board our ship, the day was always observed as a 

On the 20th of May I was informed that the sentinels 
had observed the Taisho approaching.* As it was not 
Kachi^s day for visiting us, I conjectured that the weariness 
he experienced on shore had induced him to come before 
the stipulated time ; I therefore shewed no suspicion when 
he came on board, but conducted him straight to the cabin. 

* Kachi received from the sailors the title of " Taisho,*' which in the 
Japanese language signifies Commander. He used the term when he 
first addressed me, and I returned the compliment. Since then the 
seamen had constantly called him the Taisho. 


He sat down beside me, and, without any remarkable 
expression of countenance, said: "This unsealed letter, 
written, as appears, in Russian, has this moment arrived 
from Matsmai/^ Lieutenant Filatoff, who was present, 
cast a look at the superscription, and in ecstasy exclaimed : 
" It is the handwriting of our Wassili Micbailovitsch \" 
My joy knew no bounds r I snatched the letter from the 
hand of my friend Kachi^ recognised Golownin^s writing, 
and imagined, from the large size of the paper, that it 
contained an account of the events of his captivity ; but 
when I unfolded the letter I found merely the following 

" We are all, both officers and seamen, and the Kurile, 
Alexei, alive, and reside at Matsmai. 

f^ Wassili Golownin. 

May 10, 1813. " FkODOR MooR. 

I took this gratifying letter, by which every doubt of 
the existence of our countrymen was removed, and read it 
on deck to the crew. Many of the men, who knew the 
writing of their 6aptain, perused the letter themselves, and 
greeted Tachatay-Kachi with cheers. Grog was distri- 
buted to the whole ship^s company, that they might drink 
to the health of their officers and friends, for whom they 
had all been willing, in the preceding year, to sacrifice 
their lives on the coast. 

On this occasion the Taisho informed me of a happy 
incident which had occurred to him. He had received a 
letter from his son, at Chakodade, which the governor had 
conveyed to him in the following singular manner : — Ac- 
cording to the Japanese laws, a person immediately 
retnmed from a foreign country is allowed no corres- 


pondence or intercoorse with others : the goremor there- 
fore ordered him to be called^ as if merely for the pmrpose 
of giving him Captain Golownin^s letter to take on board 
the * Diana/ He said not a word of any letter from 
Kachi's son^ but^ while walking up and down the room^ 
he threw it towards him^ as if it had been a piece of useless 
paper^ taken out of his pocket with the other letter, and 
then turned his back, to give time for its being picked up. 
Kachi perfectly well understood what he meant, and^ 
without any embarrassment, took up the letter and put it 
in his pocket. 

On the 26th he came on board, with the information 
that the post had arrived at Matsmai, and that the first 
counsellor of the Bunyo of Matsmai, who was to commu- 
nicate the answer to my letter, had embarked, on board an 
imperial Japanese ship. • The Kurile Alexei and one of 
the Russian prisoners were to accompany this mission. 
We all supposed that the Russian must be an officer, but 
our friend understood that he was one of the sailors. 

Judging from the time at which the Japanese ship was 
said to have sailed from Matsmai, it appeared probable 
that she would arrive on that or the following day. In 
fact, in a few hours after, we saw a vessel standing into 
the bay. Tacbatay- Kachi knew her to be an imperial 
ship by a red mark, in the form of a globe, on her sails. 
The sides were covered with red stripes, and the gangway 
was hung round with striped cloth. Three flags, each of 
variegated colours, waved on the stem. There were, 
planted also, on the same part of the ship, four long 
pikes, from which floated streamers, each black at the 
extremity. The number of these pikes indicates the rank 
of the person on whose account they are fixed up. On 
the approach of the vessel, baidares, bearing flags, left 


the shore, and proceeded out to meet her. Each supplied 
a particular boat, destined for towing, and they altogether 
towed the ships towards the fortress. It was now dark, 
and we could not perceive what preparations were being 
made on shore for the reception of the deputy of the 
bunyo ; but Kaehi promised to return next day with an 
account of all that occurred. 

Faithfcd to his appointment, we saw him in the morn- 
ing coming down to the shore, in company with another 
man. Kachi was instantly recognised by the white hand- 
kerchief which he always waved at the end of his sabre ; 
and with respect to the other, we did not remain long 
in uncertainty, for as they advanced, our worthy little 
friend occasionally vanished from our view, in conse- 
quence of falling behind his more bulky companion. We 
all exclaimed, ^' That is one of our Russians.^^ 

It is impossible for me to describe the moving scene ^ 
which followed, when our sailors beheld their comrade 
returned from captivity. A part of the crew were filling 
water-casks at the rivulet. When the prisoner saw Rus- 
sians on the other side of the stream, and probably recog- 
nized among them some of his old messmates, he made 
but one step to its banks, leaving Kachi at least nine 
paces behind him. Surprise and joy made our sailors 
forget that they were prohibited from crossing the rivulet. 
They waded through it, and embraced the welcome visitor 
in the most affectionate manner. The officer who had 
the command of the party on shore informed me, that 
at first he did not know the stranger, he was so altered 
by the sufferings he had undergone. At last, all the 
men cried out with one voice, " Simanoff V' for that was 
his name. He then threw off his hat, knelt down, and 


could not utter a word; but the tears rolled fast down 
his cheeks. This affecting spectacle was renewed when 
he came on board the ship. I saluted him firsts and 
asked whether our friends in Matsmai were well. " God 
be praised/' he replied, *^they are in life, though not 
all quite well. Mr. Chlebnikoff, in particular, is dan- 
gerously ill.'' I repressed my desire to ask further 
questions, as I observed the great impatience with which 
the seamen were waiting to greet him. 

I went down to the cabin with Kachi, who informed 
me that the first officer of the Bunyo of Matsmai, 
named Takahassy-Sampey, who had just arrived, had 
commissioned him to communicate several circumstances 
to me. He took out his pocket-book, and read as 
follows : 

" Takahassy-Sampey testifies his respect to the Com- 
mandant of Kamtschatka, and informs him, that in 
consequence of the letter written to Matsmai, the bunyo- 
sama (chief governor) has sent him to Kunashier, to 
communicate certain preliminary points regarding the 
liberation of the Russians. Takahassy-Sampey regrets 
that the laws of Japan do not permit him to confer per- 
sonally with the commandant. He feels for the hard- 
ships which the officers and crew of the Russian ship 
have undergone in their repeated voyages to Kunashier : 
he laments the iostilities which have occm'red, and he has, 
with the permission of the Obunyo of Matsmai, brought 
one of the Russian prisoners with him. This prisoner 
will be permitted to go on board the Russian ship every 
day, to converse with his countrymen, on condition that 
he always returns at night to the fortress. Takahassy- 
Sampey requests that the commandant of Kamtschatka 



will place full confidence in Tachatay-Kachi, who has 
been chosen for the negociation, and who has stated that 
he can converse freely with the commandant/^ 

The official communication of the preliminary points 
was in the following terms : 

1. There must be conveyed to the Japanese Government, 
a document signed and sealed by two Russian commanders 
of districts, certifying that Chwostoff, without the con- 
sent or knowledge of the Russian Government, had un- 
lawfully committed depredations on the island of the 
hairy Kuriles and on Sagaleen. 

2. Chwostoff disturbed the tranquillity of the inha- 
bitants pf our settlements, and presumed to carry away 
the millet and other commodities which belonged to 
private individuals, and, in general, whatever he found, 
to Okotzk. Among the property thus removed was our 
ammunition of war, including armour, bows and arrt)W8, 
muskets, and some cannon. With respect to the former 
description of articles plundered by Chwostoff, the Ja- 
panese Government is of opinion that, they must now, 
in consequence of the lapse of time, be totally unfit for 
use ; the latter, however, are not liable to spoil by keep- 
ing, and ought, therefore, to be restored, lest they should 
hereafter be regarded as trophies taken from the Japanese 
in war ; but though they cannot be decayed or injured 
by use, they may not, perhaps, be now in Okotzk. It is 
true they could be collected together from different places, 
but, owing to the distance of such places, that might be 
now very difficult. The Japanese Government, therefore, 
considering the urgency of the present circumstances, 
will be satisfied if the commandant of Okotzk certifies, 
that, after the strictest investigation, no more of the 
plundered property, brought by Chwostoff from the 


Kurile Islands and Sagaleen^ is to be found in tiiat 

[It will be remarked by the reader, that the Japanese 
contrived, with much ingenuity and politeness, to make 
it be clearly understood, that it was well known to them, 
through Leonsaimo, what had been done with ChwostoflPs 
booty. Only the strict purport of the passage has been 
given in the translation, but the whole was very deli- 
cately expressed in Japanese.] 

3. Respecting the hostilities in the preceding year, 
to which the commandant of Kamtschatka has alluded 
in his letter, the Japanese Government, in consid^stion 
of the then existing circumstances, i-ecognize such con- 
duct on the part of the commander of a Russian imperial 
ship as justifiable according to their laws, and have, 
therefore, passed it over in silence in their official note ; 
but that Tachatay-Kachi, the commander of a Japanese 
ship, had been carried to Kamtschatka against his incli- 
nation, is not consistent with the information contained 
in the letter received at the time from the Fnamotsh 
Tachatay-Kachi, who stated that he had, according to 
his own wish, proceeded to that place, and that only four 
of his sailors had been taken by force. 

4. In order that the negociations may be brought 
to a pacific and satisfactory conclusion, Takahassy-Sampey 
hopes that the Russian ship-of-war will, in the present 
year, return with the required certificate from Okotzk 
to Chakodade, where the undersigned, with the Com- 
mander Kood-Simoto-Chiogoro, will . be in waiting for 
the Commandant of Kamtschatka, to receive from him 
the said certificate ; and, according to the lawful customs 
of Japan, personally to advise and jointly co-operate with 
him in efi^ecting the promised liberation of the Russian 


prisoners. In the meantime^ he adds herewith the wish 
that the Russian ship may^ after a favourable voyage^ 
speedily return to Ghakodade. 

Thus ended Kachi's commission ; and I, full of im- 
patience to speak with Simanoff^ desired him to be called 
into a separate cabin. Finding himself alone with me^ 
he ripped up the seam of his jacket^ and drew out a sheet 
of fine Japanese paper^ folded up in a singular form. 
The paper was entirely filled with wrfting. '^This/' 
said he, " is a letter to you from Wassili Michailovitsch. 
T have succeeded in conceaUng it from the notice of the 
suspicious Japanese. It contains an account of our suf- 
ferings, and some advice respecting the mode in which 
you are to proceed.^' I eagerly took the letter, 
which appeared to come to me by miracle. I several 
times glanced my eyes over it ; but, partly through the 
dread that it might contain some unwelcome news, 
and partly through joy at the unexpected manner in 
which it had reached me, I was so agitated that I could 
not distinguish one word from another. Within the 
letter I observed two shps of paper, which contained 
some lines, very closely written by Mr. Chlebnikoff. I 
recovered myself, and to my indescribable joy, read that 
our unhappy friends still cherished some hope of return- 
ing to their native country. Captain (Jolownin^s letter 
was as follows : 

^^ Dearest Friend, 

" At length the Japanese seem to be convinced of the 

truth of our declarations respecting the pacific intentions 

of Russia and the unauthorised conduct of Chwostoff"; 

but they require a formal attestation thereof from some 


Natschalnik * of our government, to which the imperial 
seal must be aflBxed. It is to be hoped/ that when fully 
persuaded of the friendly intentions of Russia, they will 
enter, into commercial relations with us; for they seem 
already aware of the knavery of the Dutch. We have 
informed them of the letter which fell into the hands of 
the English, in which the Dutch interpreters of Nangasaky 
boasted of having produced a decided rupture between 
Resanoff and the Japanese. Nevertheless, when you have 
any intercourse with them, be extremely cautious ; carry 
on your conferences only in boats, and always keep at the 
distance of a gunshot from the shore. Be not offended,, 
however, at the tardiness of their proceedings. We have 
known them to deliberate for months on an unimportant 
affair, which in Europe would have been decided in a day 
or two. In general, I would recommend, as the four 
principal requisites to be observed in treating with them, 
prudence, patience, courtesy, and candour. On your 
discretion depends not merely our liberation, but the 
interests of our country. May our present misfortune be 
the means of restoring to Russia those advantages which 
she has lost through the misconduct of one individual ; 
but the seaman who is the bearer of this will acquaint 
you more circumstantially with my opinion on these 
subjects. It is not convenient to load him with papers, 
and, therefore, I do not myself ^write to the minister. 

" Where the honour of my sovereign and the interest 
of my country are concerned, I do not set the value of a 
copeck on my life ; do not, therefore, take my safety into 
consideration. Be it now, or ten, or twenty years hence, 

* Chief commander, or governor of a fortress or province. 


sooner or later^ we must all pay the debt of nature. It is 
immaterial to me whether I die in battle or by the hand of 
treachery ; whether I perish amidst the waves of the sea, 
or yield my last breath on a bed of down. Death is 
always death, though he may present himself under a 
variety of forms. I beg, my dearest friend, that you will 
vnrite in my stead to my brother and my friends. Provi- 
dence may have ordained that I shall see them again, and 
perhaps not. In the latter case, tell them not to be dis- 
tressed on account of my fate, and that I wish them health 
and every happiness. I entreat you in the name of Heaven, 
to suffer no one to write to me, or to send anything which 
may occasion me to be tormented by translations and 
questions; but state your own determination in a few 
lines. I request that you will give the sailor who is the 
bearer of this, five hundred roubles from my effects.* 
Present my sincere regards to our comrades, the officers 
of the 'Diana,^ and remember me to all the seamen. 
With the deepest gratitude, I return thanks for the many 
dangers you have encountered for the sake of obtaining 
our freedom. Adieu, dear friend ! and all dear friends, 
adieu ! This letter is probably the last you will ever 
receive from me. May you enjoy health, content, and 
hdppiness ! 

''Your most faithful- 

"Wassili Golownin. 

*' Apiil 10th, 1813. In the city of Matsmai, 
io Japanese imprisonment/' 

Poor Simanoff was so overjoyed at the liberty he had 

* Captain Golo^trnin supposed that Simanofif was compl^ely released 
hy the Japanese, and would return with us to Russia. 


obtained^ and the opportunity of mixing with his ship- 
mates^ that he was like one that had lost his senses. 
Whenever I sought to be made acquainted with his 
instructions, he constantly replied : ^' Why do you 
question me, Sir? The letter contains all the informa- 
tion you can stand in need ot" He frequently wept like 
a child, and exclaimed : " I alone have, for a moment, 
been set at liberty ; but six of our countrymen are still 
lingering in confinement. I fear that if I do not return 
speedily they will be ill-treated by the Japanese.^^ 

I relied, however, on Kachi^s honesty as on a rock, and 
regarded all further precaution as superfluous. Golownin^s 
letter served more completely to inform us of what was 
requii'ed by the Japanese Government, and this was, at 
all events, highly important. 

Having satisfied our curiosity concerning the situation 
of our comrades, by a thousand various questions^ we 
again put our friends Kachi and Simanoff ashore. I 
requested that Kachi would inform Takahassey-Sampey 
that, should the wind prove favourable, I intended to set 
sail for Okotzk on the following day, and that I would, 
without fail, return to Chakodade in the present year, 
provided with all the documents he required : I, moreover, 
bagged that he would ofier him our sincere thanks for the 
friendly disposition he had manifested, and particularly 
for permitting us to have an interview with our country- 

Finally, on the 29th of July, we took farewell of 
Tachatay-Kachi. On this occasion, he brought three 
hundred fish on board for the sailors. I was somewhat 
mortified at his having constantly refused to accept of any 
present, except a little sugar, tea, and French brandy: 


he even proposed that his clothes, and other articles, 
which he had on board the ^ Diana/ and which were 
apparently of considerable value, should remain in my 
custody, observing: "That we should soon meet again 
in Chakodade. There,^^ said he, "I can, without any 
obstruction, receive the tokens of your friendship, but 
here it would be extremely troublesome to me to be made 
accountable, according to our laws, for every trifle/^ " At 
least,^^ said I, " take back your own property ; you know 
the dangers to which a sea life is every moment exposed/^ 
" How V^ exclaimed he, " can you apprehend danger after 
the evident protection of Heaven which you have ex- 
perienced ? Zeesei, Zeesei, Taisho ! (that is to say, timid, 
timid commander !) That you have sufficient time before 
you for accomplishing a safe voyage, a wise man like you, 
who knows how to observe the heavens (alluding to 
astronomical observations), cannot deny. I do not like 
your look ; I see that you are concerned about my trifles, 
though it was my intention to request permission to dis- 
tribute them among your seamen ; but I perceive your 
uneasiness of mind, which probably proceeds from your 
doubt of the business being finally adjusted this year. I 
must, consequently, conclude that your sailors, several of 
whom I know still distrust me, would imagine that 1 had 
given them presents under the conviction that I should 
never see them more. I, therefore, beg that the trifles 
may remain in your keeping until you return to Cha- 
kodade. Ten Taisho V' (Ten signifies, place confidence 
in God.) 

The intelligent and grateful Tachatay-Kachi was, in- 
deed, not wrong in his conjecture. But the reader may 
himself judge how great was our cause for uneasiness. 


As soon as he departed, we weighed anchor, notwidi' 
standing the unfavourable state of the weather, with the 
intention of putting to sea : but the wind soon became 
fair, and after a pleasant voyage of fifteen days, we again 
cast anchor in Okotzk harbour. 

I immediately addressed a report to the Commandant 
of Okotzk, containing an account of all that had taken 
place; and he, in return, furnished me with the doca-^ 
ment required by the Japanese Government, togethe 
with a letter of friendly explanation from the Governor of 
Irkutzk to the Bunyo of Matsmai, which contained every- 
thing necessary to be stated. 

A Japanese, named KisseleflF, who had been sent from 
Irkutzk to serve as our interpreter, now came on board 
the * Diana/ We remained in Okotzk Roads eighteen 
days. On the 11th of August we were ready to sail, for 
the third time, to the coasts of Japan, with a full reliance 
on the assistance of Heaven for the attainment of our 
wished-for object. 

Owing to adverse southerly winds, which prevailed 
along the Peninsula of Sagaleen, twenty days elapsed 
before we reached the coast of Matsmai. On the 10th of 
September we entered Volcano Bay, in which is situated 
the safe harbour of Edomo, whither I had resolved to 
repair. As we approached the promontory we could 
plainly discern the buildings, and even the inhabitants of 
the place ; but during the night the wind became more 
adverse than before, and a storin at length arose, which, 
on the following morning, drove us from the coast. It 
was at the period of the equinox, when, in this part of the 
world, violent storms prevail, even more frequently than 
elsewhere ; but on the 12th, to our great joy, the storm 


dbated^ and was succeeded by mild and favourable 

We entered Volcano Bay on the 22nd, and at nine in 
the morning, three baidares were observed steering to- 
wards our vessel. I dispatched Lieutenant Filatoff to 
meet them, and he soon conducted them alongside. 
There were eighteen Japanese on board these baidares, 
who, at our invitation, boldly ascended . the deck of the 
* Diana/ We enquired where we could find a harbour, 
and they informed us that there was one called Sangaro, 
about two wersts distant, in a southerly direction, near 
the promontory, which had about twenty fathoms depth 
of water. We soon found that they had come on board 
merely from curiosity, to see the foreign ship. As we 
wished to put into Edomo, which had been visited by 
Captain Broughton in 1796, we requested them to con- 
duct us to that port, but they declined to do so, probably 
because they dared not without permission, and they left us. 
From Captain Broughton^s description we were, however, 
pretty certain of being able to enter the harbour without 
their assistance, and we accordingly stood into it with an 
easterly wind. At noon we discovered a tolerably large 
town, and on the heights were batteries, overhung with 
cloth. A baidare was sent out to meet us, on board of 
which were thirteen hairy Kuriles, whom the Japanese 
call Ainos. These Kuriles were accompanied by a native 
of Japan, named Leso, one of those who had been in 
Kamtschatka with Tachatay-Kachi, and whom we had 
put ashore on our return to Kunashier. He informed 
me, that in consequence of the agreement concluded at 
Kimashier, he had been sent by the Bunyo of Matsmai, 
as a pilot, to conduct us to the harbour of Chakodade. He 

VOL. II. s 


enquired whether we wanted anything, as the authorities 
of that place had been directed to furnish us with whatever 
we might require. We stood in need of nothing, except 
fresh water, and I availed myself of the opportunity to 
send on shore fifty empty casks ; we then cast anchor in 
eleven fathoms, with a muddy bottom. 

On the following day the same baidare, manned by the 
same Kuriles, brought back our casks filled with fresh 
water from Edomo, and likewise some fresh fish and 
radishes, as presents from the governor. We returned 
him our thanks, and again sent twenty empty casks, 
which were brought back in the evening. We took ad- 
vantage of the fine weather to repair our rigging, which 
had been considerably damaged during the storm, and 
everything was soon restored to a state of good order. 
For several days the Japanese continued to fill our casks, 
and to send presents of fresh fish and vegetables in such 
abundance as enabled us to deal out plentiful supplies to 
the crew ; but in spite of all our persuasions, they obsti- 
nately refused to accept of any return. 

On the morning of the 26th, the baidare brought me a 
letter from Captain Golownin, written in Chakodade. 
He informed me, that when the ^ Diana' should come 
within sight of the harbour, a white flag would be dis- 
played on the hill, and that Tachatay-Kachi would be sent 
out to us : as, however, the latter could not depart without 
an order from the Bunyo of Matsmai, he advised us, in the 
meantime, to trust to the sailor Leso, who was a skilful 
pilot. This letter was a reply to one which I had addressed 
to the Japanese authorities on our first arrival at Edomo, 
and in which I expressed my doubts of the sincerity of 
the Japanese, since they sent a common sailor to meet us. 



instead of dispatching Tachatay-Kachi^ or some individual 
of rank. Now, however, I was very willing to accept of 
Leso as a pilot. 

Having, without any trouble, got all our empty casks 
filled with fresh water, and every other necessary supplied, 
we set sail at ten o^clock. At eight on the following 
evening we discovered, on various parts of the coast of 
Matsmai, several fires, one of which was particularly large. 
We were soon met by a baidare, bearing a white flag and 
two lanterns : on board of this baidare was our faithful 
friend, Tachatay-Kachi. This proved a joyful meeting to 
both parties, for there was now *every probability of our 
mutual wishes being fulfilled. He came by order of the 
Japanese Government, to conduct us into the harbour of 
Chakodade. He was himself accompanied by a distin- 
guished oflScer of the port. By their mutual direction we 
east anchor, at half-past eight in the evening, in a place 
called by the Japanese Yamassee-Tomuree : it is the com- 
mon anchoring-place for vessels when easterly winds pre- 
vent them from entering the harbour. Every necessary 
arrangement having been made, we eagerly sat down to 
converse with Kachi, with whom we communicated with 
more facility than before, as we had the assistance of the 
interpreter Kisseleflf. 

Our first question, of course, related to our countrymen. 
Kachi informed us that they were in Chakodade, and that 
the Bonyo of Matsmai, Chattori-Bingono-Kami, had 
already arrived in person, for the purpose of concluding 
the negotiation, and liberating the prisoners. After we 
had conversed together for a considerable time, he took 
his leave, promising that he would return next day to 
conduct the ship into the harbour. During the night we 

s 2 


observed fires burning on various parts of the coast, and 
a watch-boat rowed up to us, and laid near the vessel as 
long as we remained there. 

Kachi fulfilled his promise of returning early on the 
following morning. We sailed into the Bay of Chako- 
dade, and, after a few hours, we cast anchor in a place 
which he pointed out, and which was scarcely the distance 
of a gun-shot from the city. He then acquainted me 
with the laws concerning European vessels. He stated 
that we could not be permitted to sail about the harbour 
in boats ; that, as long as we remained there, a watch- 
boat would, day and night, be stationed near the vessel ; 
that everything we stood in need of would be conveyed to 
us by government vessels; and that all persons were 
strictly prohibited from visiting us. 

In the evening he went on shore for the purpose of 
drawing up a circumstantial report of his proceedings. 

The city of Chakodade, the second in magnitude on 
the island, is situated on its southern coast, on the 
declivity of a high circular hill, which rises above the 
peninsula there formed : it is washed on the south by the 
Bay of Sangar, on the north and west by the Bay of 
Chakodade, which is very convenient for receiving a large 
fleet. The peninsula forms its junction on the east by a 
narrow strip of land, so that there is at once a view of 
both the open sea and the low grounds. 

On the northern side of the bay a spacious valley 
extends over a circuit of fifteen or twenty miles, bounded 
on three of its sides by hills. In the centre of this valley 
Ues the village of Onno, the inhabitants of which are 
chiefly occupied in agriculture. The other villages, which 
are chiefly situated on the coast, are, for the most part. 


inhabited by fishermen. We learned these particulars 
from our friends on their return, for they had been con- 
ducted about the city, and in their walks they observed that 
this valley was better cultivated than any other district they 
had seen. The hill, at the foot of which the city is built, 
serves as an excellent landmark for ships entering the 
bay, as it is easily recognised at a distance by its circular 
form, and is detached from every other elevated object. 
On the western side this hill is formed of huge masses of 
rock, in one of which there is a cavity perceptible from 
the sea. The depth of water, close in land, is very con- 
siderable on the southern and western sides of the penin- 
sula : but as thete are neither sand-banks nor rocks to 
be apprehended, the coast may be approached without 
danger. There are, however, numerous sand-banks on 
the northern side, and consequently only small vessels' can 
get up to the town. From the projecting cape opposite 
the town, a sand-bank of unequal depth extends one- 
third of the breadth of the bay. On the northern and 
eastern sides of the bay the depth of water gradually 
diminishes towards the shore. 

As we approached the town, we observed that cloth was 
hung out only at a few places on the hill, or near it, and 
not over the whole buildings, as at Kunashier. With 
the assistance of our telescopes, we observed six of these 
screens of cloth, probably destined to conceal fortifications, 
which our countrymen had an opportunity of seeing on 
their way from Matsmai to Chakodade. There were, 
besides, five new fortifications erected along the coast, and 
provided with garrisons of suitable strength : they were 
at short distances from each other, and about from two to 
three hundred fathoms from the shore. 

We no sooner entered the roads than we were sur- 
rounded by a number of boats of all descriptions and 


sizesj filled with the curious of both sexes. A European 
ship, must, indeed, have been to them an object of 
uncommon interest ; for, as far as I could ascertain, they 
had seen none since they were visited twenty-two years 
before by Laxman and Lowzoff : the latter commanded the 
Okotzk transport ship ' Cathariua.^ Many of the inha- 
bitants, therefore, had never beheld a European vessel of 
any kind, and still less a ship of war ; they accordingly 
thronged around us in vast numbers ; and their curiosity 
frequently gave rise to disputes among themselves. The 
Doseenee (Japanese soldiers), who were stationed in the 
watch-boats, continually called to them to keep at a 
farther distance; but so great was the confusion, that 
though the people generally show great respect to the 
soldiers, their orders were, on this occasion, disregarded. 
The military were, therefore, under the necessity of using 
the iron batons, which they wear fastened to their girdles 
by long silken strings. They spared neither rank nor 
sex : old persons alone experienced their indulgence, and 
we had various opportunities of observing that the 
Japanese, in all situations, pay particular respect to old 
age. In this case blows were freely dealt out to the young 
of every description who ventured to disobey the commands 
of the soldiers, and we were at length delivered from a 
multitude of visitors, who would have subjected us to no 
small degree of inconvenience. We should have been 
unable to move had they all been permitted to come on 
board the vessel ; and to keep them out by force was a 
measure which we could not have adopted without 
reluctance, considering the favourable turn which our 
intercourse with the Japanese had taken. They were at 
last, however, compelled to withdraw to a certain distance, 
indicated by the guards, and no boat dared to pass the 
boundary. In this way they covered a considerable por- 


tion of the bay, and when those who were most a-head 
had gratified their curiosity, their places were immediately 
occupied by the next in succession. They did not all 
depart until twilight ; after that time, only those indivi- 
duals who were sent by the government were allowed to 
approach our ship, and even they were subject to the 
examination of the watch-boat. 

Next morning, we observed a boat with white flags* 
standing towards us from the town. Tachatay-Kachi, 
with the sailor who had been our pilot, came on board 
in this boat, and brought presents of fish, vegetables, and 
water-melons. The sailor carried a bundle, which I per- 
ceived contained clothes. Kachi begged that I would 
permit him to retire to his old cabin to dress, informing 
me that the Bunyo of Matsmai, who was highly satisfied 
with his services in Kunashier, had appointed him nego- 
tiator in this important affair, on which occasion he had, 
according to the customs of Japan, been invested with 
certain privileges. In fulfilment of this duty, it was 
necessary that, during his communications with me, he 
should appear in the robes appropriate to his official 
situation. He accordingly withdrew to attire himself, 
and in the meanwhile I put on my state uniform, and 
hung my sword by my side. After a polite salutation, 
Kachi intimated, through our interpreter, Kisseleff, that 
he did not now speak in the name of the Bunyo, but in 
the names of two chief officers of state, who requested 
that I would deliver the official paper which I had en- 
gaged to bring from Okotzk. I replied that I was 
prepared to present it to the state officers themselves, 

* I ought to have mentioned that the white flag was constantly 
displayed along with the flag of war. 


bat that no time might be lost, I would deliver it to 
Kacbi. I assembled my officers in full uniform in the 
cabin^ to witness this proceeding, and with all due 
solemnity I presented to Kacbi the official document 
from the Commandant of Okotzk, which was wrapped 
up in blue cloth. I, at the same time, stated that I 
had in my possession another important official letter, 
from the Governor of Irkutzk to the Bunyo of Matsmai, 
but that letter I could deUver only in my own person, 
either to the Bunyo, or to some distinguished individual 
who might be sent to receive it. Tachatay-Kachi urgently 
solicited that I would give him the letter also, as it would 
procure him high honour in Japan when it should be 
known that he was thought worthy of delivering into the 
hands of the Obunyo an official document from a Russian 
Governor. But this I resolutely declined, observing that, 
though I loved him as a friend, yet I could not consent 
to anything which might be thought derogatory to the 
dignity of the Governor of Irkutsk, nor betray the trust 
which had been reposed in me. 

I now proposed that my interview with the Japanese 
authorities should take place on shore, but close to the 
sea, as I found it was impracticable to communicate with 
them in boats. According to Kachi^s account, the people 
in the streets fell upon their knees whenever the high 
officers of state appeared iu their noHmans (sedan chairs) ; 
how then could we hope that they would consent to lay 
aside all their ceremonies, and hold a conference in boats 
with the commander of a foreign ship ? Besides, I had 
credentials from the Governor of Irkutzk. I was in- 
vested with full powers in conformity with the pleasure 
of my sovereign, and consequently I appeared in the cha- 


racter of an ambassador. If, therefore, the Japanese 
dared to act treacherously, they might be certain that my 
treatment would not be looked upon with indifference, 
but would be considered as a national concern. I had 
also the less reason to hesitate in fulfilling my mission in 
the usual manner, as I knew that the dignity of an am- 
bassador was much respected in Japan. 

Tachatay-Kachi begged that I would think no more 
about his indiscreet request, and then went ashore. He 
returned next day, dressed himself as before, and in the 
name of the two officers of state, inquired whether the 
crew of the ^ Diana' stood in need of anything, or 
whether the ship required repairs. I returned thanks, 
and observed that we had a good supply of everything, 
except fresh water, fish, and vegetables (all of which 
abounded in Chakodade), and that the ship was in a state 
of perfect repair. 

Kachi then informed me that he had delivered the offi- 
cial document from the Commandant of Okotzk, with all 
diie ceremony ; that its contents were deemed satisfactory, 
and that my proposal to hold an interview with the com- 
mandant, for the purpose of presenting the letter from the 
Grovernor of Irkutzk, had been assented to. He added 
that the object of his present visit was to arrange the 
ceremonies which it would be necessary to observe during 
this conference ; and, in the first place, to settle respect- 
ing the guard of honour. I observed that I would bring 
on shore with me ten men armed with muskets ; that two 
petty officers should precede me, carrying the war flag 
and the white flag of truce ; and that I should be accom- 
panied by two commissioned officers and the interpreter. 
I besides consented to be rowed ashore in the governor's 
barge. After a mutual salutation, which on my side was 


to be made in the European manner^ by a bow^ an ann- 
chair was to be placed for me, and behind it two ordinary 
chairs for my officers. During the introductory address, 
whether proceeding from the Japanese or from myself, I 
was, as a mark of respect, to stand, and then immediatdLy 
to take my seat. With the exception of the mudcets, 
Kachi observed, that all these regulations would be readily 
agreed to ; ^^ But,'' said he, '^ we know of no instance in 
which a foreign ambassador, whatever the object of his 
mission to Japan, has been suffered to present himself at 
a ceremonial conference with a retinue bearing fire-arms. 
Be satisfied with the same n^ark of respect which has been 
shown to other European ambassadors in Nangasaky; 
namely, that the men composing your suite shall be per- 
mitted to wear their swords, but let them leave their 
muskets behind them. To allow your ship to sail into our 
innermost harbour, armed and provided with powder, and 
thus to leave you the means of injuring us if you pleased, 
though the first is by no means a slight departure from 
our laws.'' 

Being well convinced that favours had been conceded 
to us which no other European ship had ever enjoyed, I 
was prepared to yield the point with respect to the mus- 
kets : and I merely observed to Kachi that a guard with- 
out niuskets was not a guard of war, and was consequently 
beneath my rank as commander of a Russian imperial 
ship. "With us," said I, "only men in the military and 
naval service are permitted to carry muskets, in the same 
manner as such persons wear two sabres in Japan ; our 
muskets therefore correspond exactly with your two 
sabres." But, I added, that if this proposition were ob- 
jected to, he need not insist upon it, and that I would 
go on shore upon the other conditions hieing agreed to. 


Having made memoranda of all that passed between us, 
he took his leave. On the following day he came with 
a joyful countenance, to inform me that everything was 
settled, even the point respecting the muskets. ^^At 
first/' said he, '^ouf officers were all silent; but after 
they had considered the matter for some time, I repeated 
all your arguments, one after the other ; and I am now 
directed to inform you that the two official persons will 
expect you to-morrow, at the place appointed on the 
shore, to receive from your hands the letter from the 
Governor of Irkutzk. At twelve o'clock the governor's 
state barge will be ready to receive you. One thing only 
remains to be arranged : you can on no account whatever 
appear in boots in the audience-chamber, which has been 
covered with fine carpets, on which the Japanese high 
officers will sit down cross-legged. To appear there in 
boots would be quite repUgnant to our customs, and 
would be a most unwarrantable indecorum. You must 
consequently leave your boots in the anti-chamber, and 
enter only in your stockings." 

I was somewhat embarrassed by this singular proposal, 
and endeavoured to point out that according to European 
notions nothing could be more absurd than for a man to 
present himself in full uniform, with a sword by his side, 
and without either boots or shoes. I observed to Kachi 
that I was well aware it was customary with the Japanese 
to take off their shoes even before they enter a common 
apartment; ^'but," said I, ^^you, who are an intelligent 
man, cannot but know how widely your customs differ 
from those of European nations. Your countrymen, for 
instance, instead of trousers, wear a loose garment 
resembling our dressing-gowns. You never enter a 
strange house with your shoes on ; whereas, to go bare- 
footed would, with us, be only pardonable in persons of the 


very lowest class. How then can you expect that I 
should comply with such a custom V^ 

Tachatay-Kachi could make no reply; he had never 
for a moment bestowed a thought on this important point 
of etiquette. I reflected for a few moments, and then 
declared that I would endeavour to conform with all that 
was required, so that no obstacle might stand in the way 
of the proposed conference. " In Russia,^' continued I, 
^' it is customary, when we wish to show particular re- 
spect to any persons of distinction, to exchange our boots 
for shoes in the anti-chamber." ''That is sufficient,^' 
exclaimed Kachi, joyfully : '' no violation of the rules of 
politeness need to be made by either party. Your shoes 
may easily be compared to our Japanese half-stockings ; 
and I will say that you agree to take off your boots, and 
to appear in the audience-chamber in leather stockings.*' 
He immediately went ashore, and to my astonishment 
returned in the evening, to inform me that the official 
persons were highly satisfied with my arrangement re- 
specting the leather stockings. He added that if, how- 
ever, I absolutely insisted on appearing in boots I might 
do so; though in that case, the government officers, 
instead of receiving me on their knees, must sit on chairs, 
after the European manner ; which, in Japan, is regarded 
as a great mark of disrespect and even rudeness. 

He then produced a drawing of the building, in which 
it was proposed the interview should take place. In front 
of the edifice, a number of soldiers were sketched, sitting 
cross-legged. In the first apartment were the officers 
of inferior rank. Here I was to draw off my boots, 
and theh pass by a row of officers, likewise sitting 
cross-legged. At the upper end of the hall of audience, 
the places for the two chief official persons were marked 
Qut ; on the left was the interpreter, on the right an acade- 


mician^ who had Arrived for the express purpose of making 
observations on the Russian ship of war, and collecting 
particulars respecting European science. My place was 
marked out in the centre of the hall, facing the high 
authorities, and behind me were chairs for my two ofiScers. ' 
The guards, with muskets and flags, were sketched in 
front of the open doors of the building. 

Everything being thus arranged, Kachi took his leave, 
promising, if the weather should prove favourable, to return 
at twelve o'clock next day to escort me in the state barge. 

I now turned my thoughts to our interpreter, Kisseleff, 
whom it was necessary I should take ashore along with 
me. I was well aware of the severity of the laws of 
Japan towards subjects who have become Christians, 
and lived in foreign countries. Kisseleff, in the letter 
wkich he translated, had described himself to be a native 
of Russia, though the son of a Japanese woman ; yet it 
appeared probable that his perfect knowledge of the 
Japanese language would immediately betray him, and 
in that case, the consequences might have been fatal. I 
left it to his own free choice, whether or not he would 
incur the danger, and he replied : ^^ What have I to fear ? 
If they detain you, they detain us all. They will not 
seize me alone. I am no Japanese, and intreat that you 
will take me with you, in order that I may have an 
opportunity of fulfilling my duty. The conference will 
be of the highest importance ; but I can be of no service 
to you by remaining on board the ship.'' I gladly con- 
sented to take him with me ; and I gave orders that the 
two officers who, of their own accord, had offered to ac- 
company me, should hold themselves in readiness. 

Next day, at twelve o'clock, the state barge was sent out 


with a number of flags waving on board. Tachatay-Kachi 
appeared in fall costume^ and informed me that we should 
depart wheixeTer the flag was displayed from the building 
in which the conference was to take place. The flag was 
unfurled precisely at twelve o^clock, and we went on 
board the barge. It was rowed by sixteen chosen 
Japanese, most of whom, as Kachi informed me, were 
eminent and wealthy merchants, who had seized that 
opportunity of gratifying their curiosity. Their manner 
of rowing differs from that practised in Europe : they do 
not throw the blade of the oar forward, but keep merely 
turning it about; and yet the boat is moved with as 
much velocity as would be produced by our method. We 
had fixed our war flag along with those of the Japanese in 
the stem; at the prow, however, we hoisted the white 
flag of truce, and in this manner we rowed towards the 
town, accompanied by several hundred boats filled with 
spectators. The building in which the conference was to 
take place was situated close to the shore, near a stone 
landing place. In the front of the building we observed 
a number of Japanese soldiers sitting according to custom 
on the ground. Tachatay-Kachi was the first who stepped 
out of the barge : he proceeded immediately to inform the 
high officers of our arrival, and soon returned to intimate 
that eveiything was prepared for our reception. To have 
enquired why no Japanese officer had been dispatched to 
meet me, seemed then an imtimely and useless question ; 
I therefore ordered the petty officer, who was the bearer of 
the white flag, to land next to the ten seamen imder arms, 
and the other petty officer to follow with the war flag. I 
then stepped out of the barge, followed by two commis- 
sioned officers. In the entrance hall my shoes were put 



on by the Japanese attendants^ one of whom carried a 
chair behind me. I then entered the audience-chamber^ 
which was filled with officers of various ranks^ all wearing 
their . military dresses and two sabres. I was somewhat 
surprised at the dead silence which prevailed throughout 
the apartment. On observing the two chief officers^ who 
were sitting near each other crossed legged^ I advanced 
towards them and bowed. They rettumed my salutation 
by an inclination of the head. I then bowed to the right 
and left, and took my seat in the chair which had been 
placed for me. Uninterrupted silence prevailed for the 
space of some minutes. I was the first to break it, by 
observing, through the interpreter, Kisselefi*, that I consi- 
dered myself in the presence of friends. Instead of 
making any reply, the two chief officers smiled ; but the 
elder of the two, who had come from Kunashier, opened 
the conference by turning to an individual who sat on his 
left, and who, when addressed, inclined his head towards 
the ground ; but the superior officer spoke in so low a 
tone of voice, that Kissaleff could not collect a word he 
said. The person who had listened in the manner I have 
described having resumed his former attitude, after a 
respectful salutation, to my great astonishment addressed 
me in tolerably good Russian. He was, as I afterwards 
learned, the interpreter, Murakami-Teske, who had been 
taught Russian by Captain Golownin. " The Russians,^^ 
said he, ^' some time ago occasioned great disturbances on 
the coasts of Japan, but all is now happily settled. The 
certificate of the Governor of Okotzk is very, very satis- 
factory.^' I answered through himself as interpreter, 
that by the happy settlement of which he spoke the libe- 
ration of our prisoners was doubtless to be expected. 


and that that joyful event would repay all the hardships 
we had endured. 

After some interchange of compliments^ I proceeded to 
call the attention of the two high official personages to 
the letter of the Governor of Irkutzk^ which SavelieflF 
handed to me in a box covered with a purple cloth. I 
took it out^ read the address aloud^ and returned it. 
Savelieff having replaced the letter, handed the box to the 
interpreter, who elevated it above his head, and then 
placed it in the hands of the junior of the two state 
officers. The latter raised it to the height of his breast, 
and delivered it to the senior officer, who stated that he 
would immediately present it to the bunyo, and that, in 
consideration of the importance of the document, two 
days would be necessary for preparing the answer. The 
presents which were handed by Savelieff to the Japanese 
interpreter were laid before the officers. They both re- 
quested, that I would accept of some refreshments, which 
were prepared in the house : they then stood up, bowed to 
me, and withdrew with the presents. The interpreter 
Murakami-Teske having welcomed us in a friendly manner, 
addressed me by my Russian name, and said : " God be 
thanked! that I can now congratulate you on a happy set- 
tlement. Captain Golownin and the other Russians will 
soon be sent on board to you : our laws do not permit that 
you should yet meet — but they are all well.'^ The academi- 
cian also congratulated us and our worthy friend Tachatay- 
Kachi, who, during the ceremony, had stood at the 
extremity of the chamber, now approached. We were 
treated with tea and sweetmeats served on lackered trays. 
I was distinguished by having an officer of subaltern rank 
placed by my side,. who received whatever was destined 


for me, and presented it. After having been on shore 
two hours, we took leave, and returned on board with 
Kaehi. I had ordered Lieutenant Filatoff to decorate the 
ship with flags as soon as he saw us land, but not to fire, 
as I knew that the Japanese would not be pleased with 
that compliment; for they say it is very absurd in 
Europeans to make the firing of cannon, which are 
engines of destruction, a mark of honour and respect. 
There are, however, instances of the practice among 
themselves; for the Prince of Sindaisk is saluted with 
rounds of artillery on leaving or entering his princi- 

The day was fine, and the decoration of the ship with 
flags afforded a pleasing spectacle to the curious of both 
sexes, who crowded out in boats to view it. Thus ended, 
to the satisfaction of both parties, our conference with 
the Japanese authorities, during which the Russian im- 
perial flag, which then waved, in consequence of national 
negotiations, for the first time, on the territory of this 
haughty people, received due honours. The escort which 
accompanied me had sworn not to allow the sacred im- 
perial standard to pass from their hands while one of them 
remained alive. 

We must again gratefully acknowledge that our friend 
Tachatay-Kachi was on this occasion of great use to us. 
Two days passed away without any communication from 
the high authorities ; but Kachi visited us twice a-day, 
accompanied by some persons of his' acquaintance, whom 
the government gave him permission to bring on board. 
These visits were extremely agreeable to us, as they 
afforded us opportunities of testifying to Kachi how 
much we considered ourselves obliged to him. We offered 



his friends presents, but they would accept only of some 
trifles, and not even of them without the permission of 

On the third day, in the morning, Kachi came on board, 
his countenance radiant with pleasure, to inform me that 
I might have a conference with Captain Golownin and 
the other Russian prisoners. What a joyful message ! 
Though we had been permitted to write to Captain Go- 
lownin, yet we received only short notes in return, or 
acknowledgments of the receipt of our letters. This 
plainly proved that the Japanese inspected what he wrote ; 
and thus obliged him to observe great caution in his 
correspondence. Towards evening Tachatay - Kachi 
brought us an unquestionable proof of his having seen 
our friends; namely, a letter, in which Golownin ex- 
pressed satisfaction at being introduced to his acquaint- 
ance. On the following day, Kachi overjoyed me by 
the intimation that I might go on shore that day, and 
that I should meet my friend Golownin and two of his 
sailors in the same edifice in which the solemn conference 
with the Japanese authorities had been held. The inter- 
preter, Murakami-Teske, the academician, and. some 
officers of inferior rank, were to be present at this meet- 
ing. The govemor^s barge was to convey me on shore, 
and I was at liberty to take with me the same number of 
armed men as on the first occasion. With regard to the 
last suggestion, I answered : " As this is to be merely a 
private interview, 1 will leave the two flags in the boat, 
and only take on shore with me the ship's clerk, and five 
unarmed sailors, in order that they may enjoy the 
pleasure of seeing two of their old shipmates.^' Next 
morning, at ten o'clock, Kachi came for me, and I went 




on shore with him and the men I had promised to take, in 
the governor's barge. 

As we approached the shore, I saw Golownin at the 
door of the edifice, in a rich yellow dress, with his sword 
by his side. I instantly forgot all attention to cere- 
mony, did not allow Tachatay-Kachi to precede me, but 
leaped first on shore myself. Had I not served so long 
with Golownin, and lived in friendly intercoui-se with him, 
I certainly should not have recognized him in his habUi- 
ments ; but I knew him ameng a crowd of Japanese ; 
and the joy of our first greeting may be imagined, but 
cannot be described. He had almost ceased to hope to 
see his country again, and I had scarcely ventured to hope 
that it would fall to my lot to deliver him. The delicacy 
of the Japanese made them desirous not to disturb the 
transport of our feelings; they accordingly drew back, 
and chatted to each other. 

At first, we could only express ourselves in unconnected 
questions and answers; but when we became somewhat 
tranquil, we spoke on the main object of our meeting, 
for which suflScient time was allowed us. Golownin, in 
a few words, related what he had suffered ; and, in return, 
required from me intelligence bf his country, his friends, 
and his relatives. He then showed me that I had formed 
an erroneous opinion on a very important point. The 
bad state of the ship had induced me to cherish the idea 
of wintering in Chakodade, b.9 it appeared hazardous to 
return at that late period of the year to Kamtschatka. 
Golownin, however, observed that, according to the Ja- 
panese laws, we should be considered prisoners, and that 
it was therefore necessary to hasten our departure; and 
by his advice I wrote to that effect to the Japanese autho- 

T 2 



rities. We took leave of each other, full of the hope of 
speedily meeting again. 

In the evening, I had the pleasure of a visit from 
Kachi. He had been present at my interview with 
Golownin; but in the midst of it he came up to me, 
and said : '^ I am not well — excuse me,'^ and went away. 
The sailors who accompanied me, and who never could 
be induced to place any faith in the Japanese, were 
alarmed at Kachi^s withdrawing, particularly as in passing 
he bade them, as they thought, in a very serious manner, 
farewell : they firmly believed that the Japanese were going 
to arrest them. 

On this occasion, Kachi brought a youth on board 
with him, and intimated that he had something wonder- 
ful to tell me. On returning home yesterday, he said, he 
very imexpectedly found — he would leave me^ to guess 
whom — his son ! " Look at him,'^ said Kachi ; " is he not 
like me ? Through him I have obtained the most joyful 
tidings of my wife. She has been on a pilgrimage, and 
has returned in good health. She had scarcely entered her 
apartment, scarcely laid aside her travelling dress, when 
she received, by post, the letter I wrote to her on our 
arrival at Kimashier.'^ I expressed a sincere wish for 
the future happiness of my friend and his affectionate 
wife. These events confirmed him still more in his 
belief of predestination, to which he was much devoted. 
I paid particular attention to his son; ordered that he 
should be shown every part of the ship, and introduced 
him to my officers, who, with the assistance of Kisseleff, 
carried on a friendly conversation with him. Kachi, in 
the meantime, gave me an account of his friend, the 



"Taisho!*^ said he, ^^men are to be found in Japan 
without the help of a lantern.* How do you think I 
can make a return to my friend ?t He despises riches; 
I must do something worthy of his greatness of soul. 
You know I have a daughter, but owing to her mis- 
conduct, I have forbidden her to bear my name. To 
me she has long since been numbered with the dead. 
You have taken a great interest in her fate : I have 
always been deeply moved whenever you entreated that 
I would become reconciled to her : perhaps you thought 
your friendship slighted because I remained inexorable ; 
but you knew not the customs of our country, nor were 
you aware that you required a sacrifice of my honour. J 

" Now,^^ continued he, " since I possess so invaluable 
a treasure in my friend, who has withdrawn himself from 
the world, I will make a sacrifice as rare as his friend- 
ship — a sacrifice which, according to our ideas of honour, 
is the severest wound that the heart of a father can 
endure, I *have resolved to call my daughter into life, 

* He alluded to the story of Diogenes, which I had related to him in 
Kamtschatka, and with which he was highly pleased. In general, he was 
deeply interested by examples of virtue and magnanimity, such as the 
conduct of Dolgoruki, when he tore the ukase of Peter the Great. When- 
ever he listened to that anecdote, he would place his hand on his head, in 
token of veneration, and exclaim, with emotion, " Okee, okee !" (Great, 
great !) Then pressing his hand to his heart, he would say, " Kusuri," 
(medicine) ; a term by which he was accustomed to designate any dish 
that particularly pleased him, and of anything which he wished to express 
his admiration. 

t He here alluded to a rich man who had been his bosom friend, and 
who was so grieved on learning that we had taken Kachi prisoner, that 
he divided his property among the poor, and took up his abode in the 
mountains, as a hermit. 

% I had, indeed, frequently so moved him that he shed tears ; but his 
resolution remained unaltered. , 


and to forgive her. I need only communicate this deter- 
mination to my friend, and he will understand me.^^ 

He then requested I would permit him to distribute 
the property he had on board the ship among the 
seamen. This he did in person, giving those articles 
which were of the highest value to such of the crew as 
he was best acquainted with, particularly our cook, whom 
he used to call his friend ; for, though he honoured my 
dishes of moral teaching with the title of kusuri, yet he 
was not insensible that he needed food for the body as 
well as the mind, and that the former was also kumri to 
him. The articles he gave away consisted of silk and 
cotton dresses, large wadded quilts and dresses ; and they 
were so numerous, that every man on board received a 
present of some kind or other. He then requested that 
the sailors might be allowed to make merry that evening. 
" Taisho,^' said he, " sailors are all alike, whether Russian 
or Japanese ; they are all fond of a glass, and there is no 
danger in the harbour of Chakodade.'^ Though I had, 
on that joyful day, already ordered a double allowance of 
grog to be served out to the crew, yet I could not decline 
complying with the request of the kind-hearted Kachi. 
He immediately sent his sailors on shore to procure sagi ; 
and, according to the Japanese custom, ordered them 
to bring pipes and a paper of tobacco for each of our 
seamen. I conducted him, to the cabin, where I had 
previously laid out the presents which had been sent 
with the embassy. They consisted of painted porcelain, 
marble slabs, and crystal vessels of various descriptions. 
'^Now,^^ s^id I, "fulfil the promise which ^ you made in 
Kunashier. Take whatever you like best ; or, since your 
officers despise our presents, take them all for yourself.^' 
^^ To what purpose should I accept of the costly things,^' 


he said, with all the sincerity of friendship, ^' since, 
according to our laws, they must all be taken from 
me, and the government will merely indemnify me with 
money ?" 

With considerable diflSculty, I at length prevailed on 
him to accept a few trifles. He chose what pleased him 
best, namely, a pair of silver spoons, two knives, and 
other articles for the table; but he was particularly 
delighted on my presenting him with a tea-service. " I 
can now,^' said he, "entertain my friends after the 
Russian fashion in remembrance of the hospitality I 
have experienced among you." In general, he expressed 
himself pleased with our mode of living, and though 
he could not always sit at table with us, because the 
Japanese do not eat butchers' meat, yet he had his meals 
served up at the same time, and always took tea with us. 
He generally drank his tea without sugar, but he ate large 
quantities of the latter separately. 

We remained together until midnight. When about to 
withdraw, he expressed his regret that the Japanese laws 
did not allow him to invite and entertain us at his own 
house ; since we might also wish to possess some chasees 
and sagasukees,^ as memorials of Japanese hospitality. 

On the following day we were much concerned to hear 
that Tachatay-Kachi had caught a severe cold, in conse- 
quence of his frequent communications with the ^ Diana ' 
having obliged him to be so much on the water. We 
were therefore visited by the young interpreter, who was 
sent by the high officers to inform us, that on the following 
morning Golownin and the rest of the prisoners would be 
sent on board. In confirmation of this message, he 

* Lackered cups and small pieces of wood; the Japanese use the 
latter instead of knives and forks. 


brought a letter from Golownin, by which it appeared that 
they had all been carried before the bunyo^ who, in the 
presence of a numerous assembly, had formally announced 
their liberation. The high officers requested that I would 
next morning go once more on shore, to hold a conference 
with them, to take charge of my liberated countrymen, 
and to receive the papers which had been prepared for me. 

As a proof that I implicitly relied on the honour of the 
Japanese Government, I informed our welcome messenger 
that I would go ashore without guards, and merely in a 
boat bearing white flags, to convince the people that 
the liberation of our countrymen had been effected with- 
out any kind of force whatever. The interpreter, with 
some other visitors, who had been attracted by curiosity, 
remained with us until night, and we now, for the first 
time, succeeded in persuading our guests to receive a few 
tokens of friendship. Our presents, on this occasion, con- 
sisted of pieces of Spanish leather, which the Japanese 
prized beyond anything else we could have offered them. 

The 7th of October was the happy day on which all our 
difficulties were to be amply requited. Tachatay-Kachi 
arrived very early, in the governor's barge. Owing to 
indisposition, he appeared in his ordinary dress. On 
my expressing some apprehensions on account of his 
health, he replied, '^ Never fear ! joy has already made me 
better ; and when I see you and Golownin rowing towards 
the ship, I shall be quite well again." 

He assured us that the bunyo was much pleased with 
the frank confidence which I had placed in the honour of 
the Japanese. At twelve o'clock I went on board the 
barge, accompanied only by Savelieff and Kisseleff, and 
we rowed, under white-flags, to the well-known building, 
where the Japanese were in waiting to receive us. Our 
prisoners immediately appeared at the door. They all 


wore yellow dresses, with seamen^s trousers and waistcoats 
of various colours. The officers^ dresses were made of 
a material resembling our figured silks, those of the sailors 
consisted of taflFety. The Kurile. Alexei wore a dress 
of dark-coloured silk, made in the Japanese form. To 
complete this whimsical costume, the officers wore their 
swords and uniform hats. 

On any other occasion we should have been highly 
diverted'by the singularity of their appearance, but now 
it did not even excite a smile. Friend gazed at friend 
with emotion and joy, and our thoughts were expressed 
more by looks than by words. Tears of gratitude to 
Providence glistened in the eyes of our liberated country- 
men. The Japanese retired and left us for some time 
alone, in order that we might give vent to our feelings. 
My countrymen were then formally deUvered over to me 
by the two Ginmiyaks, Takahassi-Sampey and Kood- 
Simoto-Chiogoro. The papers of the Japanese Govern- 
ment, which I was to lay before the authorities on my 
arrival in Russia, were presented to me with the ceremonies 
which have already been described by Captain Golownin. 
Refreshments were then handed to us in the usual manner. 

Having once more expressed our sincere thanks, we 
rowed from the shore at two o^clock, accompanied by a 
countless number of boats, crowded with Japanese of 
both sexes. Notwithstanding a violent adverse wind, 
none of the numerous boats by which we were surrounded 
put back. The ^ Diana ' was decorated with flags, and all 
her yards were manned by the crew, who saluted us with 
three cheers. The enthusiasm of the seamen, on once 
more beholding their beloved commander and his com- 
panions in misfortune, after a separation of two years and 
three months, was boundless. Many melted into tears. 


This scene, so highly honourable to the whole crew, can 
never be effaced from my recollection. Crolownin and his 
companions, who were moved to their inmost souls, knelt 
down before the sacred image of the ship (the miracle- 
working Saint Nicolas), and returned thanks to heaven. 

A number of boats now came alongside, bringing fresh 
water, wood, one thousand large radishes, fifty boxes filled 
with grits, thirty with salt, and, in short, provisions of 
every description, though none had been asked on our 
part. When we declared that we stood in no need of 
these things, the answer was that orders had been given 
for supplying the prisoners with provisions sufficient to 
last them until they reached Kamtschatka. To avoid any- 
thing like dispute, I accepted of all that was sent. A 
considerable time was spent in unloading the boats. 
Many of the Japanese, whom the Dooseenee now per- 
mitted to come on board the vessel, set to work so 
zealously, that it was difficult to say which was most to be 
admired — the pleasure with which our seamen worked, or 
the obliging manner in which the Japanese assisted 
them. They appeared as one people; and no spectator 
could have supposed that between their native homes half 
the circumference of the globe intervened ! Civility, 
kindness, good humour, and activity animated all. They 
reciprocally treated each other with brandy and sagi ; and 
in the midst of their labours they enjoyed a holiday. 

Some Japanese officers, of the rank of Shtoyagu, came 
on board to visit us. Among them were the interpreters, 
the Shtoyagu Murakami-Teske, and the Saidshu Kumad- 
dschero. The former spoke Russian much better than 
the latter, and also possessed more general information. 
They were accompanied by the academician and an inter- 
preter of the Dutch language, the latter of whom had 


been in Nangasaky when Resanoff and Krusenstern 
visited that port , in the Nadeschda. He recollected 
several- of the Russian officers^ names, and also spoke 
some Russian, and understood French. We entertained 
them in the European style, in the cabin, and they 
examined every part of the ship with the greatest at- 
tention. Towards evening a multitude of Japanese came 
on board, all men, for now, to our mortification, the 
women were not permitted to enter the ship. The deck 
was so crowded, that our seamen could not move a step 
without difficulty, and the Doseenee were, at last, obliged 
to employ their iron batons in driving their countrymen 
into the boats, whence the women looked anxiously up 
as if they wished to have a share in the bustle. To 
console them, we handed some trifles down to them, for 
which they returned thanks, by very expressive gestures. 

On the 10th of October, when all was ready for our 
departure, the government sent us a quantity of vege- 
tables, and fresh and salt fish. I h^d just given orders 
for weighing anchor, when Tachatay-Kachi appeared, 
with a number of boats, which he brought to tow us 
from the harbour into the bay. The old interpreter, and 
several of Golownin's acquaintances, also came out in a 
large boat, and accompanied us to the mouth of the bay. 
The ship^s company bade farewell to our Japanese friends, 
by cheering them ; and, as a mark of sincere gratitude to 
Kachi, they gave — The ^ Taisho !' Hurrah ! in three sepa- 
rate and additional cheers. Kachi and his sailors stood 
up in their boat, and returned the cheers, calling as loud 
as they were able — The ^ Diana !^ Hurrah. ' 

We had to encounter a heavy storm, of six hours^ 
duration, on the Japanese coast. Our situation was ex- 
tremely dangerous ; the night was dark, and the rain fell 
in a torrent. The water in the hold rose to forty inches. 


notwithstanding that we kept the pumps constantly at 
work. At last the storm moderated^ and, in the midst 
of a fall of snow, we happily entered the harbour of 
Petropaulowskoi on the 3rd of \^epl^mher. m^^ ^ 

On the 6th of November we held our last thanksgiving 
on board the ship, and proceeded to the barracks which 
we had occupied in the preceding winter, with the consol- 
ing reflection, that having now completed our labours, we 
should soon return to our friends and relatives, from whom 
we had been separated during seven years; that time 
having elapsed since we took our departure from St. 

Thus ended our communication with a people who, 
through unfortunate circumstances and the misrepresenta- 
tions of the Dutch, had been impressed with so imfavour- 
able an opinion of the Russians. Providence, however, 
effected what human wisdom deemed impracticable. Two 
nations, hitherto almost unknown to each other, have 
made a vast step towards future intercourse ; and there is 
even ground to hope that a further approximation, advan- 
tageous to both, may take place between them. 

As I had reason to fear that our worn-out vessel might 
founder in the harbour of Petropaulowskoi, like the ship 
which had served in the expedition of Captain Billings, we 
run her right ashore on the beach. The ^Diana,^ no 
longer able to contend with the waves of the ocean, now 
serves as a magazine and will be a memorial of former 
times. It seems probable that these shores, celebrated by 
the voyages of Cook and La Perouse, and the geographical 
situation of which is so advantageous for trade, will become 
better known to neighbouring Asiatic nations, and be 
visited by navigators from the most distant comers of the 

On the day of our arrival at Petropaulowskoi all was 


cheerfulness in our little circle, with one exception — ^the 
unfortunate Moor alone presented a diflFerent aspect. His 
conduct was the result of error, not of turpitude of heart 
or of any settled design of treason to his country. Being 
bereft of all hope of returning to Russia, and flattered 
with the idea of obtaining freedom among the Japanese, 
he was induced to depart from the path of honour. When 
circumstances unexpectedly changed, he became every 
day more depressed in spirits, and finally yielded to 
despair. A man of ordinary mind might easily have been 
brought to forget his own errors ; but a heart, in which 
every honourable sentiment had been deeply rooted, was 
for ever poisoned by a single offence. When he first 
came on board the ship, after his liberation, I eagerly 
advanced to him ; but he shrunk back, and, reaching his 
sword out to me, he exclaimed, in a faltering voice : " I am 
unworthy of your notice ! I am only fit to be confined 
with criminals P^ 

I feared lest the seamen might observe what was pass- 
ing, and suddenly collecting myself, took the sword, and 
said, " I receive it as a memorial of this happy day." I 
then conducted him to the cabin, where Captain Golow- 
nin and Mr. Chlebnikoff were expressing their gratitude 
to the officers of the vessel. Golownin presented to me 
his sword; the same which, during his captivity, the 
Emperer of Japan had expressed a wish to see, and I now 
preserve it as the most valuable reward of my enterprise. 
To the officers he gave his telescopes, pistols, and astro- 
nomical instruments. He gave to the senior non-com- 
missioned officer one hundred roubles; to the juniors 
seventy-five; to each seaman twenty-five ; and to the 
sailors who had been his companions in captivity five 
hundred roubles each. But to Makaroff, who, as the 


reader knows, was of particular use to him, he besides 
granted a pension, amounting to a seaman^s annual pay, 
from his estate in the government of Casan, To the 
Kurile, Alexei, he gave a set of carpenters* tools, a rifle, 
powder, shot, tobacco, and two hundred fifty roubles in 
money. Even Moor took occasion to express his grati- 
tude ; but he constantly turned to me with the words, 
" I am unworthy V' Golownin frequently entreated him 
to forget what had passed, as he had himself blotted it all 
from his recollection ; but Moor was overwhelmed with 
remorse. The exhortations of friendship produced no 
effect upon him ; and he generally maintained a gloomy 
silence. The rest is known to the reader. Moor was a 
young man of extraordinary talent, and always distin- 
guished himself in the performance of his duty. To all 
the qualifications of a seaman, in their fullest extent, he 
joined the possession of considerable scientific knowledge ; 
was familiar with several foreign languages, and spoke two 
fluently. With such a character and such accomplish- 
ments it was impossible not to love him, and I am confident 
that all who knew him will participate in the sorrow of his 
old shipmates for the unhappy termination of his career. 



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